The victim of a horrific daytime stabbing in Downpatrick has been named locally as Aidan Mann.
He was a respected tattoo artist who specialised in Irezumi which is used in English to refer to a distinctive style of Japanese tattooing.
On Christmas day, he posted on Instagram that he had a “pretty amazing” dinner and enjoyed it with “great company”.
Tributes flowed from friends and those who admired his work on social media.
One friend said: “I’m so grateful I had the pleasure of knowing you Aidan, my heart is absolutely broken in two.”
She added that “the world has lost one of the most talented artists I’ve ever known.”
Eyewitnesses said the victim was stabbed with two knives before four men wrestled the attacker to the ground and disarmed him.
Paramedics worked in vain to save Aidan as the attacker was restrained on the ground a matter of feet away.
SDLP South Down MLA Colin McGrath described the incident as “exceptionally chilling” and said the community will be “understandably shocked”.
Last night, forensics officers continued to work at the scene and covered parts of the street in tarpaulin to protect evidence from heavy rainfall.
Detectives from the PSNI’s Major Investigations Team have now appealed for information after confirming the incident was being treated as murder.
Detective Chief Inspector, John Caldwell said: “We believe that the man was stabbed in the Church Street area of the town around 11am on Monday. Sadly, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
“We have arrested a man in his 30s on suspicion of murder and he remains in custody at this time. I would appeal to anyone with information which could assist in our investigation or who may have dashcam footage to contact us on 101 quoting reference number 497 of 03/01/22.
“A report can also be submitted online using the non-emergency reporting form via www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/. You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org/.”
It comes after a woman aged in her 20s had been stabbed in the leg in Downpatrick during the early hours of Saturday morning.
Colin McGrath MLA said: “There is absolutely no place for knife crime in our community and those responsible should feel the full weight of the law.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family at this time and I would encourage anyone with any further information about this stabbing to come forward to the police as soon as possible.”