Belfast Telegraph

'Hate crime' ruled out in fatal Belfast stabbing of Hazem Ahmed Ghrier

By Aaron Tinney

A young man murdered in a weekend knife attack was a foreign national - but police have ruled out hate crime as a motive.

Local sources yesterday told the Belfast Telegraph they feared Hazem Ahmed Ghrier, most likely from Syria, may have been killed in a misguided and brutish 'revenge' attack for the terrorist rampage on London Bridge on Saturday night.

But police yesterday insisted the stabbing of Hazem, in his 30s, was not racially motivated.

An 18-year-old has been arrested following the stabbing of Hazem in the Downshire Place area of Belfast.

Detective Inspector Darren McCartney, who is leading the investigation, said: "We are continuing to investigate the murder of Hazem, who was in his 30s, and we would appeal to anyone who was in the Downshire Place vicinity of Great Victoria Street on Sunday night at around 10.45pm to contact police.

"I would also ask anyone who has any footage captured from the incident to get in touch.

"At this stage of the investigation we do not believe race was an issue and we are not treating this matter as a hate crime.

"An 18-year-old male who we arrested last night is currently in custody at Musgrave PSNI station and is assisting police with their enquiries."

Paula Bradshaw, Alliance candidate for South Belfast, said: "I offer my sincere condolences to the loved ones of the man who died.

"This was a shocking event - violence has no place in our society and I would urge anyone who was in the area to contact the police with information immediately."

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