Belfast Telegraph

Partner released as police rule out foul play in death of civil servant Paul Gordon

Residents of quiet, close-knit community tell of their shock at 'very sad news'

By Angela Rainey

Police have ruled out foul play in the death of a man at a rural Co Down home.

The body of a civil servant, named locally as Paul Gordon, was found on Sunday night at Ballydavey Cottages, Ballymoney Road, outside Holywood.

His long-term partner Gerald Dumont (53), who is believed to be from Austria, was arrested and was yesterday helping police with their inquiries.

He was later released unconditionally and police said they were no longer treating the death as suspicious.

Forensic officers searched the semi-detached council house yesterday, and police appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

Mr Gordon had lived in the house for a few years, having temporarily been living in Kilcooley Estate in Bangor while it was being refurbished.

He was a pay supervisor in the accounts department that oversees MLAs' wages at Stormont.

Neighbours said he had suffered from a leg condition. They added that the couple met online, were well-known for socialising and often hosted parties at the house in which the Gordon family have lived for decades.

They also indicated that older male called George lived there previously and added that the quiet, close-knit community was in shock over the news of the suspicious death.

One resident who has lived on a nearby road for more than 60 years and did not want to be named said: "It's a complete shock and really awful. I woke up this morning and I couldn't believe it when a neighbour told me that the police were outside Paul's house. He came from a really lovely family - they were all very decent people. I feel for his poor mother and the rest of his family as this will be such a shock for them. I extend my sympathies to them - it's just really tragic."

Another resident said that the police had been called previously to the property, where the couple kept four dogs, following a parking dispute in which a car was damaged.

He added: "I hadn't seen Paul in a while, though last time I saw him we were talking about how he had put on a bit of weight and he was out walking his dogs.

"I never saw him during the day, more so at night when he would walk up the road with a torch with his dogs. It's very sad news."

DUP MLA Gordon Dunne extended his sympathies to the family, who live in Holywood and Bangor.

"It was such awful news," he said. "To hear of this tragic event happening in the rural peaceful Holywood Hills, where such things are totally out of character, has shocked everyone.

"On behalf of myself and the community I pass on my condolences to Paul's family."

A post-mortem examination is to be carried out later.

Belfast Telegraph


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