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Politicians horrified by murder of pensioners

By David Young

Local political representatives were last night united in their horror at the brutal double murder of two defenceless pensioners in a leafy Portadown suburb.

Upper Bann MLA Doug Beattie said he understood that the circumstances around the incident were complicated, but said there was no doubting the utter shock the incident has caused.

"I arrived here quick early after the murder happened, and I spoke to some of the residents," he said.

"You could quite clearly see in their faces the shock.

"This is a leafy lane, one way in and one way out, and you would not expect something like that to happen here.

"But it has happened here, and the people are visibly shocked by it.

"I've spoken to some of the local residents, some of them are personal friends I've known for many years, and they are shaken by the news.

"These are people who you would not expect to be shaken by this sort of thing - but they are, because it's come completely out of the blue."

Mr Beattie, who is a UUP's candidate for Upper Bann in the forthcoming General Election, added: "I live not far from here, you can feel the sense of shock from everybody in the area. It's not the sort of thing you expect to happen anywhere - and certainly not somewhere as quiet and peaceful as where we are standing now. It really is dreadful."

Margaret Tinsley is a DUP councillor for the area.

Ms Tinsley said she knew many families in the cul-de-sac,

"It's been very, very distressing. Everyone I know in the street is just so, so upset."

She spoke of an air of shock and disbelief in the tree-lined, quiet street.

"This just doesn't happen. Everyone is in shock. They cannot even speak at the moment.

"They're very tearful."

There had been a neighbourhood watch scheme in the area for the past three years, Councillor Tinsley said, but there has been no trouble before.

The couple's bodies were discover by their daughter just before 4pm, she said.

"I was driving my daughter Anna back home from her piano lessons when I got the call about the murder - her wee best friend lives next door to the poor couple.

"She's very upset, and Anna just wants to go and see her and comfort her."

But police had sealed off the street, and there was no access for press or public representatives while the investigation got under way.

Local DUP MLA Jonathan Buckley offered condolences to the grieving family.

"It's very distressing. This is a peaceful residential area, and this murder will send shock-waves throughout Portadown and further afield," he said.

"My thoughts and prayers go out to the family, who are now trying to pick up the pieces of their lives after this devastating tragedy."

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