| 9°C Belfast

Ballymena murder victim Donald Fraser-Rennie (33) found dead after 'violent beating'


Probe: The victim’s body is removed from a flat on Crebilly Road

Probe: The victim’s body is removed from a flat on Crebilly Road

Probe: The victim’s body is removed from a flat on Crebilly Road

A man murdered in Co Antrim has been named by police as Donald Fraser-Rennie.

The 33-year-old was found dead in a flat in the Crebilly Road area of Ballymena after what police described as a “vicious, sustained and violent beating”.

Police remained at the scene of the murder today, with specialist officers carrying out an examination of a first-floor flat on the Ballykeel estate, where the victim is believed to have lived.

An evidence marker was placed on the balcony of the flat and a scenes of crime officer was seen examining the window frames of the property.

A large area around the block of apartments, located opposite a Tesco supermarket, was cordoned off throughout the day as detectives searched for clues.

Grassland on the other side of the busy dual carriageway adjacent to the flat, as well as the subway underneath the road, was cordoned off as detectives carried out house-to-house interviews.

The murder has left the local community reeling.

A dog walker told this newspaper: “It’s a terrible thing to waken up to.”

Another resident said: “I didn’t know the man. I think he hasn’t lived here very long and there’s talk he wasn’t from Ballymena, but it (the murder) is wild.”

Officers investigating the incident have arrested two men, aged 29 and 33, on suspicion of murder. They are both in police custody tonight.

Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell, from the PSNI’s major investigation team, said: “My thoughts are with Donald’s family and his fiancee at this very sad and difficult time.

“At this stage, I believe that Donald was the victim of a vicious, sustained and violent beating which resulted in his death.

“I am appealing to anyone who has information that could assist with the investigation to contact us.”

The Detective Chief inspector said he was keen to speak to anyone who had been in contact with Mr Fraser-Rennie at any time between Tuesday and 1am today.

He would also like to hear from anyone who was in the Crebilly Road area between midday on Tuesday and 1am today.

Councillor Rodney Quigley said “there was a lot of concern and shock” in the community.

“The last thing they want is another murder.

“Let’s not forget there is a family out somewhere grieving over the loss of a loved one. I would send them my sympathies,” he added.

Anyone with information is urged to contact detectives on the non-emergency 101 number, quoting reference 52 30/09/20.

Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously to the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.

The Ballykeel estate was hit by a separate violent death less than three months ago when father-of-two Jason Lee Martin (31) was stabbed to death.

Belfast Telegraph