Belfast Telegraph

Boy (12) quizzed over Christmas murder of man believed battered by guitar in east Belfast

By Deborah McAleese

A twelve-year-old boy has been arrested by police investigating the Christmas murder of a musician who is thought to have been beaten to death with his guitar.

The child was arrested yesterday along with a 17-year-old male following a number of searches in east Belfast related to the murder of 41-year-old Matthew Goddard.

Mr Goddard's body was discovered by a friend at his east Belfast home on Christmas Eve.

It is believed he may have been trying to get out of his front door to escape his attacker when he died.

Police, who suspect that Mr Goddard was beaten with his electric guitar, said that he had suffered a "brutal and violent attack".

A number of searches were carried out in the area yesterday by officers from the PSNI's Serious Crime Branch. The two boys were arrested during the searches and taken to Musgrave Custody Suite to help police with their inquiries.

A 21-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman who were arrested in east Belfast on Saturday were still being questioned last night.

Mr Goddard was last seen alive at around 6pm on December 23 at his Chobham Street home where he lived alone.

His body was discovered at 9.40pm on Christmas Eve by a friend who had called to collect Christmas presents.

Police are following a number of lines of inquiry, however they believe that drugs may have been a motivating factor in the attack.

"Mr Goddard suffered a brutal and violent attack in the living room of his home - a place where he should have felt safe," said Detective Chief Inspector John McVea, the senior investigating officer in the case.

Mr McVea added: "Mr Goddard was not previously known to police. We believe he may have been involved in drugs and this is one of a number of lines of inquiry police are investigating."

The detective said he was not prepared to disclose the exact cause of Mr Goddard's death at this stage but revealed that officers believe his electric guitar was used at some stage during the attack.

Mr Goddard, who lived in Luton before returning to Belfast around seven years ago, was yesterday described by neighbours as a "nice fella".

"He was really quiet. Kept himself to himself. He was a great fella. He didn't deserve this. Everyone is stunned," one neighbour said.

Several bouquets of flowers have been placed outside Mr Goddard's house, which remained sealed off yesterday by police. In a handwritten note left at the scene one of Mr Goddard's friend's said she was "heartbroken". East Belfast Alliance councillor Maire Hendron described the attack as "brutal and callous" and warned that those responsible were "very dangerous".

"I am appalled that somebody could carry out such a violent attack. I would like to pass on my condolences to Mr Goddard's family and friends. This must be an extremely difficult time for them, especially at Christmas," she added.

A murder incident room has been set up in Musgrave Police Station. Anyone with information about the murder, or who may have witnessed something suspicious in the area between teatime on December 23 and 9.40pm on December 24, can contact detectives on 101.

Belfast Telegraph


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