PSNI launch murder inquiry after two people found dead in Belfast flat
The bodies of a man and a woman were discovered in Kinnaird Close.
Police in Northern Ireland have launched a murder inquiry after the bodies of a man and woman were discovered in a flat north Belfast on Monday.
Police have named the victims as 37-year-old Frances Murray and 47-year-old Joseph Dutton.
Their bodies were found in a flat in the Kinnaird Close area.
A 35-year-old man arrested last night on suspicion of murder remains in police custody.
Local sources said it is understood they suffered stab wounds.
— Police Service NI (@PoliceServiceNI) December 24, 2019
Murder investigation launched following death of man and woman in north Belfasthttps://t.co/OhZkJFj3VG
Several nearby homes were evacuated throughout the major police operation in the area.
Detective Chief Inspector Peter Montgomery said he believes that “some form of altercation” took place within the flat where Frances and Joseph were found.
He added: “I also want to locate a bag of blood-soaked clothing that I believe was discarded in the local area.
“The bag is described as being a white carrier-type bag with orange lettering on it. If you see a bag matching this description please do not touch it and contact police immediately.”
Police received a call at around 12.55pm on Monday from a member of the public that the bodies of Frances and Joseph had been discovered in the flat.
DCI Montgomery added: “While post-mortem examinations have not yet taken place, I am treating their deaths as murder.
“I would also like to thank the local community for their patience and support while the investigation into this tragic incident continues.
Just a few days before Christmas this is the worst kind of news for any family. Councillor Paul McCusker
“The information they have provided to my detectives to date has been invaluable however we still need people to get in touch and tell us what they know and I want to make a number of specific appeals in a bid to establish the circumstances of exactly what happened.
“I want to appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time. Did you hear anything or did you see anyone leaving the flats yesterday morning?
“No matter how insignificant you think the information you have is, please contact us. Your information could be key to our investigation.
“If you can help our investigation, please call detectives on 101.”
Councillor Paul McCusker told the PA news agency: “Just a few days before Christmas this is the worst kind of news for any family.
“Within the local community there is anger and sadness.”
The SDLP representative said the dead couple were both “characters” and well-known in the area.
“A few days before Christmas this couple’s poor family will get this devastating and horrific news that they have died in such conditions,” he added.
Sinn Fein councillor JJ Magee said it was a “tragic scene”.
“Absolutely shocked, the community is shocked by the news that has come from this very, very serious situation,” he said.
“It is an absolute tragic event.”