Belfast Telegraph

Two men dead after shooting incident near Glenarm in County Antrim

Bodies of owner and worker found inside isolated house

By Chris Kilpatrick and Michelle Smyth

The two men found blasted to death after a double shooting on a farm have been named locally as farmer Arthur Gibson and his labourer Michael Murphy.

Their bodies were discovered in an isolated farmhouse outside the village of Glenarm, Co Antrim early yesterday evening.

Police were last night at the scene on the Feystown Road after they were found in the property around a mile from the village at 5.15pm.

It is believed that Mr Gibson, who was in his early 60s, owned the property where the bodies were found by a farm worker.

The respected farmer lived alone, had no children and had lived there all his life.

Local people said the farm had been passed down from generation to generation.

"Art was a hard-working man and a good farmer – a proper gentleman who kept to himself," said former Larne mayor Gerardine Mulvenna.

"He was very well known and thought of in farming circles."

Mr Murphy is originally from nearby Larne but had moved to the Glenarm area.

He had a partner and young children.

He was in his 20s or 30s and had been a labourer for the farmer for a few years.

Sources said the two men had been friends for a long time before yesterday's tragedy.

A PSNI spokesman said: "An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths is under way.

"There are no further details at present."

At this stage it is understood police are not treating the incident as terrorist related.

There was a heavy police presence at the scene last night.

Mr Gibson's farm is in a very isolated rural area overlooking Glenarm.

The nearest house is five minutes away.

Forensic teams in white overalls carried out examinations with investigating officers looking on.

A small crowd of local people started to gather at police cordons as news filtered through of the sudden deaths.

A sense of disbelief pervaded the scene as neighbours and relatives arrived to help move cattle and carry out other farm duties.

A group of grieving women were joined by a member of the clergy as they prayed together at the bottom of the lane leading to the farmhouse.

One neighbour said: "I'll guess we'll never know what happened."

Others mentioned that there may have been a dispute between the two men.

Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan said people were "in a state of shock".

"The thoughts in the area are of disbelief, absolute shock and horror at what has happened.

"This is a very close-knit community, everyone gets on very well and knows each other very well, and for this to happen is totally shocking," he said.

Assembly member for the area Stewart Dickson said: "This is an absolutely shocking incident, which has left the village and the surrounding community in shock.

"My thoughts are with the families and friends of the deceased and would call for anyone with any information to contact the PSNI as soon as possible."

The Alliance MLA added: "I hope the police will be able to determine what was behind this tragic incident tonight."

SDLP Councillor Martin Wilson said: “I want to convey my deepest sympathies to the families of the two men who have lost their lives following a tragic incident at a farm on the Feystown Road.

“The entire community will be united in their sense of grief at this shocking and disturbing occurrence.

“Both men were well-known and their untimely deaths will be met with disbelief by those living in the community.

“All our thoughts and prayers are surely with the families at this very difficult time.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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