Belfast Telegraph

Man dead and another critical after ‘horrific’ hammer attack

A man who alerted police to a horrific attack that left one man dead and another critically injured ran into a PSNI headquarters “drenched from head to toe in blood”, according to sources.

At this stage police believe that a heavy blunt instrument, possibly a hammer, was used to inflict |severe head injuries on both |victims in the attack near Londonderry’s police headquarters in the early hours of yesterday.

The man killed was named locally as Paddy Harkin, thought to be aged in his 40s. Police are |treating his death as murder.

His bloodstained body was found in his Bayview Terrace second-floor flat minutes after a man left the flat and ran across the road and into the city's Strand Road PSNI station.

“He was drenched from head to toe in blood,” said a PSNI source in Derry.

One source said it appeared as though the man, believed to be English, had “flipped”. No connection has been established between the man and Mr Harkin.

When police entered the flat minutes later they found Mr Harkin's body and a second man with critical head injuries.

It is believed that this second victim was a caretaker for the flats the incident took place in. It was suggested last night that he witnessed the initial attack on CCTV before unsuccessfully |attempting to intervene.

He was initially treated for his wounds in Altnagelvin Hospital

before he was transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

The flat where the assaults took place is overlooked by eight CCTV cameras which are attached to the police station. As part of their investigations, detectives yesterday viewed recorded footage from several of the cameras.

The blood-covered man who alerted the police had also sustained severe head injuries.

After he was treated in Altnagelvin Hospital, he was arrested and taken back to Strand Road police station for questioning. Last night officers from the Major Investigations Team were |continuing to question him.

Members of Mr Harkin's family were at the PSNI station yesterday helping police with their inquiries and seeking information about his death.

Sinn Fein deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness knows the family.

“I know Paddy and I must say he was a very inoffensive man and I was shocked and saddened this morning when I was told of his tragic death,” he said.

Fr Michael Canny from the nearby St Eugene's Cathedral was at the sealed-off scene yesterday morning to offer his support.

He said: “This is simply dreadful. My prayers and thoughts are with the family of the deceased and with the family of the injured man, who is now fighting for his life.”

SDLP Councillor Mark H Durkan described the incident as a terrible tragedy.

“Like so many people I am shocked that an incident of this kind has taken place here so close to an old people’s home. It has been a truly awful morning for the two families,” he said.

Scene-of-crime officers who entered the flat yesterday removed several items from the premises.

Public access to the station was also disrupted as it formed part of the scene of the investigation, with anyone seeking police help advised to go to another PSNI |facility.

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