Belfast Telegraph

Five quizzed by police as man dies in east Belfast street stabbing horror

By Rebecca Black

A dispute over a broken relationship appears to have led to the death of a young man in Belfast.

A 21-year-old - named locally as James Stitt - died on an inner city Belfast street on Saturday night following a stabbing incident.

Two men aged 21 and 25 and a 25-year-old woman were initially arrested on suspicion of murder. A 31-year-old man was arrested later in the evening.

All four were last night assisting officers, and the PSNI said it was following a definite line of inquiry.

On Monday afternoon a fifth person was arrested.

Police arrested a 29-year-old woman who is currently assisting detectives with enquiries.

Detective Chief Inspector Alan Dickson said: "I continue to appeal to anyone who was in the area of Castlereagh Place around 10pm on Saturday night, or anyone who has any information in relation to the incident to contact detectives at Ladas Drive on the non emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

The incident, which took place around 10pm, has been described by neighbours who witnessed what happened on Castlereagh Place as "a domestic".

A barman from the Lagan Village Rangers Supporters' Club across the street from the dispute is understood to have frantically tried to save the man's life by putting pressure on the stab wound to stem the blood before paramedics arrived. However, the young man died.

Yesterday morning two houses on the street remained cordoned off by police.

Two bloodstained tissues lay on the pavement beside a black chair.

A nearby car had a smashed front window which appeared to have been from a pot plant being thrown at it.

Police are believed to be investigating whether a blue-handled kitchen knife found in a nearby car yard had been thrown there after the attack.

One neighbour who witnessed the incident said the row appeared to be between a man and a woman who had recently ended a relationship.

"One of the men had a knife, it looked like a butcher's knife," the neighbour said.

"The next door neighbours came out to try and help. There was a whole row in the street and a pot plant was thrown at that car."

The neighbour described how desperate attempts were made to save the stabbed man's life.

"The barman from the Rangers Supporters' Club came out and tried to save the man's life by putting pressure on the wound," the neighbour said.

"He seemed pretty shocked and upset."

Another barman working at the club that night said he also understood that the incident was some kind of domestic row.

East Belfast PUP councillor John Kyle described the incident as an argument that spiralled out of control.

"This seems to have been a tragedy, an argument that spiralled out of control and ended up in the loss of a life," he said.

"At least two young men were involved. The circumstances are unclear but there does seem to have been a domestic dispute."

Mr Kyle said local people have been left upset by the death.

"East Belfast has been relatively peaceful recently, people are saddened by what has happened."

DUP MLA Robin Newton said residents were worried.

"There can be no justifiable reason for the taking of a young man's life," he said.

"This awful incident will cause agonising heartache for families and friends.

"The carrying of knives is a worrying trend and there can be no good reason for anyone to carry a knife. As the police investigate this murder inquiry they will need the support of anyone who has even a small piece of information about this terrible confrontation."

Last night the two men and the woman who were arrested remained in police custody. Detective Chief Inspector Alan Dickson from serious crime branch has urged anyone with any information that may help police to come forward.

"I appeal to anyone who was in the Castlereagh Place are around 10pm on Saturday night and witnessed the incident or has any information to contact detectives at Ladas Drive on the non-emergency number 101," he said.

East Belfast stabbing: Blood-stained tissues in open view as families deal with trauma 

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