Belfast Telegraph

Coleraine pensioner may have been victim of random stabbing

A Northern Ireland pensioner may have been the victim of a random stabbing after his killer had a row with a friend or relative, police said today.

Norman Moffatt, 73, was walking home after buying a paper in a local shop in Coleraine, Co Londonderry, a decade ago when he was attacked.

Detective Chief Inspector Gary Crawford said: "I cannot discount the possibility that Norman Moffatt was stabbed for absolutely no reason other than he was a convenient victim for a ruthless killer who is still at large.

"It is possible that the killer had a row with a friend or family member in a domestic setting, then left the house and attacked the first person with whom he came into contact."

Mr Moffatt was knifed by a man in the area between Railway Road and Circular Road at around 7am on January 26, 2001 and was taken to hospital but died almost two months later on March 19.

Police Service of Northern Ireland officers are revisiting the case and making a new appeal for information.

DCI Crawford said police had not discounted the possibility that Mr Moffatt had been mistaken for a local paedophile but appealed for more help from the community.

"The Moffatt family have endured immeasurable suffering over the past decade. They are ordinary, decent people who saw their father and husband stabbed in the street for no reason," he said.

"Norman was a defenceless, harmless, innocent old man who went out one morning to buy his paper and ended up being randomly, brutally and fatally stabbed.

"The Moffatt family have suffered terribly but there is also a stain on the entire local community - a stain on its character which will remain until Norman's killer is caught."

One person was charged with Mr Moffatt's murder but the charge was later withdrawn.

Police want to speak to two men seen arguing with each other a short time after the stabbing in the area between Circular Road and Railway Road. They also want to talk to a woman who walked past these two men.

Mr Moffatt's daughter Norma Moffatt said: "It's been a long 10 years. Events have taken their toll on our family and in particular my mother, whose health has suffered. This has devastated the whole family.

"My brother Barry now has a son and he's the grandson that Dad never knew. It never leaves you. I can still hear Dad's voice that morning when he came back to the house after being stabbed."

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