Police launched a murder inquiry today after a teenager was stabbed to death in a Newcastle, County Down.
Paul Owens, 18, was walking home alone through Newcastle, Co Down, in the early hours when he was attacked.
It is understood he was stabbed three times in the neck.
Two men and a woman were arrested by police and an area close to the town's Donard Park was sealed off as part of the investigation.
Carmel O'Boyle, an SDLP member of Down District Council who once taught the victim when he was a pupil at St.Malachy's High School in neighbouring Castlewellan, said she was shocked by the death.
She said: "He was the most unlikely victim, a quiet, beautiful lad, who played football in the town.
"It was a brazen attack and absolutely nothing to do with the night-time economy. It looks as if it was in some way premeditated.
"I cannot remember anybody being murdered in Newcastle where a knife was used. It is not something you associate with the town.
"It is always a safe place, no matter what time of the day or night. It is just so tragic."
The three suspects - two men, aged 26 and 29, and a 20-year-old woman - were detained in Newcastle, according to Chief Inspector John McVea, the detective leading the inquiry.
Police are investigating the possibility that the attack could be linked to an earlier altercation in Donard Park before Mr Owens was stabbed in the town's Bryansford Road.
Mr McVea urged any witnesses to come forward and said he was determined to apprehend the killer or killers.
"This is an unusual event to have happened in Newcastle," he said.
"It is a quiet holiday town with a rural community which has a good working relationship with the police.
"Everybody is surprised something like this could have happened here."