Portstewart's grief for Margaret Evans as police still quiz son over murder
A 32-year-old man believed to be the son of a popular businesswoman murdered in Portstewart is still being questioned by police.
Mother-of-three Margaret Evans (69) was found dead at her home in Knockancor Drive in the seaside town on Wednesday afternoon.
She was said to have suffered serious injuries and may have been badly beaten.
Her body is thought to have been discovered by her husband John, a well-known businessman in the town.
He is said to be distraught at the loss of his wife and the arrest of his son in connection with the murder.
Local UUP councillor and businessman Norman Hillis described her as a "fixture" in the town, while East Londonderry MLA Claire Sugden said she had been "an institution".
Ms Sugden said it was a "very sad day for Portstewart".
"Madame Margo, as she was known in the town, was an institution here. Until her retirement she ran a very successful business, which indeed still bears her name," she said.
"Through that, she made many friends and became very popular."
Alliance Party councillor Barney Fitzpatrick said it was a "tragic set of circumstances".
"They are a much-respected family in the Portstewart area, and obviously the community are completely shocked in relation to this death," he said.
Mrs Evans ran a hair salon in Portstewart for several decades – most recently known as Madame Margo's Hair Designs – before stepping down in January this year.
The current owner of the salon did not wish to be named, but said that she and her staff were devastated by the news.
She said Mrs Evans had trained many of the young hairdressers in the town, adding that they looked upon her as a mother figure.
She had only recently returned home from a trip to visit her daughter in Nottingham last week.
It is understood that her body was found in the back garden of her home on Wednesday by her husband.
Police said she had been subjected to a "brutal assault".
Detectives cordoned off the immediate area around the house yesterday and also carried out extensive searches in a field at the back of the property.
The PSNI confirmed last night that it was treating the death of Mrs Evans as murder, and it has asked for anyone who may have met with, or spoke with, any member of the family in recent days to contact detectives.
Det Ch Insp Una Jennings said the investigation was still at a "very early stage".
"A post-mortem is due to take place to determine the cause of death," she said.
"Mrs Evans' husband has suffered a terrible loss, but is being supported by his family circle as well as a PSNI family liaison officer.
"I would like to appeal to anyone in the community who saw, spoke to or met with any member of the Evans family in recent days, or anyone with any information, to contact Coleraine police station or the major inquiry team at Maydown on the non-emergency number 101."