Belfast Telegraph

Man arrested in Co Down over deaths of three former girlfriends

A 66-year-old man has been arrested in relation to the deaths what are believed to be three of his previous girlfriends in a Co Down town over the past 11 years.

He was arrested in Dromore on Tuesday morning and is currently being held for questioning as part of investigations into the deaths of women between 2002 and 2012.

The three women who died were: Michelle Bickerstaff (47) in April last year, Margaret Weise (50) in August 2007 and Elizabeth McKee (52) who died in December 2002.

Ms Bickerstaff was mother of Lisa, Laura, Scott and Rachel, daughter of Dorothy and sister of Yvette and Sharon, an obituary said. It added she died suddenly.

The families of those who died in suspicious circumstances have been informed, police said.

Today's development has caused shock in the quiet market town.

However, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has not publicly described the incidents as murders.

The investigation is also being led by district-based detectives, not by the specialist PSNI Serious Crime Branch officers who head up probes into major criminal acts in the region.

It is understood two of the women died after sustaining physical injuries, with officers working to establish how they were caused.

The suspect has also been arrested for a number of other offences in relation to other women.

Police said a man aged 64 was arrested in connection with the death of Ms Bickerstaff at the time of her death. He was released unconditionally.

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