Belfast Telegraph

Man held in women deaths probe

A former partner of three women who all died in suspicious circumstances in a rural town in Northern Ireland has been arrested by police.

The 66-year-old suspect was detained in Dromore, Co Down in connection with the deaths of Michelle Bickerstaff, 47, in April last year; Margaret Weise, 50, in August 2007 and Elizabeth McKee, 52, in December 2002.

Today's development has caused shock in the quiet market town.

However, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has not publicly described the incidents as murders.

The investigation is also being led by district-based detectives, not by the specialist PSNI Serious Crime Branch officers who head up probes into major criminal acts in the region.

It is understood two of the women died after sustaining physical injuries, with officers working to establish how they were caused.

The families of all three women have been informed by police of the arrest.

The PSNI's Serious Crime Branch is providing support to the Lurgan (Co Armagh) based detectives leading the investigation.

The arrested man, who has been taken to Antrim police station for questioning, is also being quizzed about other offences relating to other women.

In the wake of Ms Bickerstaff's death last year, police arrested a 64-year-old man. He was later released unconditionally.

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