Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland man Karol Kelly stabbed to death after street altercation

By Leona O'Neill

A father-of-five stabbed to death in a Londonderry street has been described as “a big gentle giant”.

Karol Kelly (35) from the Beechwood area of the city died after an altercation with several men outside a house in Grafton Street.

Man stabbed to death at a house in Derry - three arrested

It is believed his neck and face were slashed from his mouth to behind his ear and he was stabbed five times in the abdomen.

The attack happened at 2.40am yesterday in the quiet residential street, which is popular with young families and students at the nearby Ulster University.

Mr Kelly died in the back of an ambulance and his body was kept inside the vehicle in the sealed-off street for almost 12 hours before undertakers were able to remove it.

Police have launched a murder investigation and arrested three men aged 27, 20 and 19 in connection with the incident. They removed a silver Ford van from the street for forensic examination and were yesterday searching a nearby alleyway for the murder weapon.

Two men, aged 19 and 20, who were arrested on Sunday remain in police custody. Detectives have been granted a 36 hour extension to question them.

A 27-year-old man who was also arrested has been released on bail pending further enquiries.

Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy said: “My thoughts first and foremost go to Karol’s family who woke up yesterday morning to the horrific news about the murder of their loved one. He was a father to five children aged between three and 15 years old and they all now face a lifetime without his presence. Karol was a devoted son, brother and uncle and he also leaves behind a partner.

“Karol’s murder has caused widespread shock and distress within the Creggan area, particularly for those who witnessed this violent and senseless attack. The community in the Grafton Street area may hold vital information which could help to establish the circumstances surrounding Karol’s murder.

"I would like to thank the community for the help they have provided so far and would appeal to those with any information to contact detectives at Strand Road police station."

Detective Superintendent Murphy added: "I would particularly like to speak to anyone who was in the Grafton Street or Park Avenue areas of Derry on Sunday morning between 2.30am and 3am.

"This includes people who were in the area prior to the altercation taking place and also anyone who witnessed the murder. Grafton Street is a quiet, residential area and I would like to thank people living here for their patience while police continue to investigate this brutal attack. Anyone with information should contact police on 101, quoting reference number 243 04/03/18."

Tributes poured in yesterday for the Londonderry father, who was described as a “big gentle giant who would have given you the coat off his back” and “a gentleman”.

In a Facebook post, Mr Kelly’s younger brother Paul wrote that his brother was now “at peace”.

“In the early hours of this morning, my big brother was taken from this earth very quickly and very tragically,” he said.

“At this sad time, myself and my family take great comfort in knowing that he is at peace with himself now and in a far happier place, even given the nature of his death.”

He added: “For now, RIP ‘Big Bruv’ and sleep tight, your demons have now left you to peace.”

SDLP MLA Mark Durkan, who visited the victim’s father Fran and his mother Philomena yesterday, said that they were “distraught” at the loss.

“The family are reeling at what has happened,” he said. “They are still in a real state of shock. The enormity of this tragedy will only sink in in the coming days, weeks, months and beyond.”

Foyle MP Elisha McCallion said that Rosemount was a community in shock.

“The community in the Rosemount area and indeed the wider city has been shocked by this incident,” she said.

“My thoughts are with the family and friends of this man and I want to express my condolences to them at this sad time.

“The PSNI has now launched a murder inquiry and I would encourage anyone with any information that can help that investigation to get in contact with the police.”

Belfast Telegraph

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