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Newtownards incident: Pensioner who was victim of serious assault dies in hospital

A pensioner who was discovered in a badly injured state in his flat in the Mark Street area of Newtownards in Co Down has died.

The nature of the man's injuries or how he came to sustain remain unclear.

Locals named the man as John Trolan (71), who lived alone in the ground floor property, one of a block of four flats sharing a communal entrance hall and staircase.

Detective Chief Inspector Gareth Talbot said: "The victim, 71 year old John Trolan, was found injured in his Mark Street home at around 10.30am yesterday morning, Thursday 8 June.

"He was taken to hospital by ambulance and was receiving treatment for his injuries but sadly, he has now died.”

A post mortem will now be carried out to determine the cause of death.

Residents last night told of their shock as news of the incident spread.

One neighbour said of Mr Trolan: "John keeps himself to himself, he's no bother.

"I can't fathom why anyone would want to do the like of that to him."

A neighbour in the narrow terraced street - who did not want to be named - said two of Mr Trolan's close relatives had recently died.

"He's a quiet wee man," the neighbour said.

"But when we saw the ambulance, we thought 'Oh God, he's hurt himself, fallen or something'."

Speaking at the scene, Mike Nesbitt, the Ulster Unionist Party's candidate for Strangford, spoke of his shock at the incident.

"The big question in my mind is: 'Who did this and what was their motivation?'" he told the Belfast Telegraph. Mr Nesbitt had come directly from election activity to the Newtownards back street where the assault took place. "It seems that the victim was a relatively elderly gentleman who neighbours are saying was totally inoffensive," he added.

"I hope that the police catch the perpetrators behind this incident as soon as possible."

Detective Chief Inspector Talbot added: "I would like to re-iterate my appeal for information. We are keen to trace John’s movements in the hours before he was found unconscious in his home. We know that he was seen at around 10.30am on Wednesday 7 June. At this time he was well and uninjured. We need to know what happened between then and Thursday morning.

"I would urge anyone who may have seen or spoken to Mr Trolan between 10.30am on Wednesday and 10.30am yesterday to please get in touch, you may have information that could prove vital. Was John out and about? Was he alone or in company? Did you speak to him by phone or in person? Any small piece of information could provide the lead detectives need.

"Please call 101, quoting reference number 747 08/06/17. Information can also be given anonymously to the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111."

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