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Conan Anderson murder: We thought he was drunk... we didn't know we would never speak to him again

Brother recounts harrowing moments 'teddy bear' brother arrived home after Belfast city centre attack

By Jonny Bell

The brother of Conan Anderson who died almost two weeks after an attack outside a Belfast nightclub has spoken of the "sheer hell" the family are going through.

Brendan Anderson described his brother as a "teddy bear".

Conan (22) had been out at Thompson's Garage nightclub in the city centre on Sunday, February 5. He was attacked outside the club in the early hours of the following morning.

The football coach managed to make it back to his Short Strand home, but died in hospital on Saturday.

More: Police open murder investigation following death of Conan Anderson

His brother, speaking to the BBC, recounted the harrowing day Conan returned home from the night out, thinking he was only drunk.

Brendan said: "He was lying there on the ground and I thought he was drunk because he was snoring and making noises.  That's the way he was when he came home drunk.  I even took a picture of him and said 'I can't wait til he wakes up so I can show him this'."

Brendan said Conan had been moving about and "thought nothing more of it" and thought he was letting him sleep off the excess of the previous night.

"It was 7.30pm that night my mummy called to say he was acting very, very strange," he continued.

"So I rushed back over and as soon as I saw his face - he was just white - I called an ambulance."

Mr Anderson said his brother had a red mark on his jaw "as if he had been punched" that morning and it had swollen up hugely that night and it was black and blue.

Brendan said: "He was lying down and standing up, twisting his arms, tensing his legs - all just odd behaviour. He could not talk, not say a word he was totally unresponsive.

"It was very scary. He doesn't do drugs so we knew something was not right."

Rushed to hospital doctors described his brain injuries as "horrific". He was found to have a fractured skull and internal bleeding and put into a coma with a machine breathing for him.

"We didn't know we would never speak to him again," his brother said.

"We were talking into his ears and just hoping he would wake up.

"It has been sheer and utter hell - nobody deserves this."

Tributes have flowed to community worker Conan online.

"The Strand has lost a gentleman, an inspiration to the kids he coaches, so so sad," said one friend.

Police are treating the death as murder.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Montgomery said: “Enquiries established that an incident had occurred in the early hours of Monday morning in the Arthur Lane area of Belfast.”

“A 27-year-old man was arrested in north Belfast on Thursday, February 9 on suspicion of grievous bodily harm with intent and later released on police bail pending further enquiries.”

The detective added: “I am now treating Conan’s death as murder and I am appealing for anyone with any information about the incident at Arthur Lane in the early hours of Monday February 6 or any information which could be of assistance to my investigation to contact detectives at Musgrave Street quoting reference number 1034 08/02/17. Information can also be given anonymously through the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

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