Belfast Telegraph

New lead in pensioner murder probe

Police investigating the murder of a pensioner who died after confronting a burglar have revealed they are following a new lead.

Bertie Acheson, 72, struggled with the intruder in his Coleraine home in April after being woken by the sound of breaking glass.

Detectives said they now believe his killer came from 40 miles away in the town of Antrim. The Crimestoppers charity has already offered £10,000 for information which leads to the conviction of the culprit.

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Harrison, the officer leading the investigation, said: "I am not at liberty to disclose the exact nature of the new information which has become available to us but I can say that it is significant. It means we are now focusing our attention on the Antrim area because that is where we believe the killer is based."

Police have now set up checkpoints in the Antrim area, with officers talking to motorists and distributing leaflets in an effort to glean information from local people about activity in the town back in April.

Mr Harrison said Mr Acheson's widow, Sheila, and the rest of his family are still trying to come to terms with his death almost six months later.

He added: "The family have told me they have no sense of normality any more. Their lives have been turned upside down. They try to go on as normal but it is very difficult. There will be no closure for them until the person responsible has been caught. They wonder if this person has a conscience and, if so, does Bertie's death ever bother them? Bertie's life was taken but so many more lives have been shattered by his murder."

Mr Acheson and his wife were asleep in bed at their home in Glenmore Gardens on April 30 when they were woken by the sound of breaking glass at around 1.30am. He got out of bed to see what was happening and went into the kitchen, where he was confronted by a male intruder who demanded money.

Police said there was an altercation and a struggle which resulted in Mr Acheson falling to the floor. The intruder then made his way into the bedroom, where he threatened Mrs Acheson, who is 70 and suffers from arthritis, before taking her red purse and escaping with £375. Mrs Acheson raised the alarm but by the time ambulance personnel and police arrived her husband was dead. It is understood he suffered a heart attack.

Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives on 028 7028 0987 or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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