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Residents' shock after police label death suspicious

By Anne Madden

A 44-year-old man whose death is being investigated by police was described as “a hard-working, helpful neighbour”.

John Hendrick Alder-Liesten, died at his home in Bellair Park, in Larne, Co Antrim, on Saturday morning.

It is understood his wife, Christine, came downstairs and found him fighting for breath on the sofa. She called her son, Paul, who lives nearby, and neighbours for help.

Paramedics worked desperately in vain to revive him.

Police attended the scene and his death was initially treated as non-suspicious.

However, yesterday the PSNI issued a statement saying: “Following the results of a post-mortem examination and other information being provided to police, the death is now being treated as suspicious.”

A 44-year-old man was arrested in Larne on Tuesday and was released last night pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.

Forensic experts gathered evidence at the house yesterday while detectives questioned residents in Bellair Park about the death.

Neighbours were in shock at the death of Mr Alder-Liesten, who had worked as a heating technician and was highly regarded in the area.

He had set up a heating service business called Almac with Paul, his stepson. Yesterday the company van sat outside the house, which had been sealed off with red and white police tape.

One elderly man, who did not want to be named, described how Mr Alder-Liesten had recently helped a neighbour whose smoke alarm was faulty.

“To me Johnny was one of the best neighbours in the street,” he said. “He was very friendly and very laid back. I’ll miss him.”

An elderly couple described how the area was reeling from several deaths in the street in recent weeks, mainly from ill-health.

“This is usually a quiet street but we have had three deaths in recent weeks,” the neighbour said.

“We’ve been here a lifetime. It’s unfortunate this has happened.”

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