A tight-knit rural community in Northern Ireland has been plunged into shock after a farmer and one of his workers were found shot dead in an isolated farmhouse.
The men were discovered at the secluded property around a mile from the quiet Co Antrim village of Glenarm on Friday evening.
They have been named locally as farm owner Arthur Gibson, 61, and 37-year-old farm labourer Michael Murphy.
At this stage it is understood police are not looking for anyone else in connection with the double shooting.
Mr Murphy had worked for Mr Gibson for many years.
Forensic teams in white overalls were examining the scene, paying particular attention to the hallway of the two-storey white painted house.
Neighbours helped to milk the cows and keep the Feystown Road farm operating as the police investigation carried on.
At this stage it is understood police are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.
In a statement released last night, a PSNI spokesman said: “Police received a report at around 5.15pm this afternoon that two males had been discovered at a property with fatal wounds. An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths is under way. There are no further details at present.”
Glenarm priest Fr Dermot McKay attended the scene of the tragedy but was unable to gain access to the farmhouse.
“They wouldn’t allow any-one up near the place. The house is up a lane but they have the whole road closed at the bottom,” he said.
“We don’t really know what has happened other than that there’s two of them dead – one was the farmer and the other one the farm worker. I just knew of them but I didn’t actually know them personally. There seems to be very little information coming out. People are totally shocked.”
Fr McKay added: “We asked but they said we wouldn’t get up until tomorrow (Saturday). They said they were just going to preserve the scene tonight because the light was so poor.”
Last night, police teams in forensic suits were examining both the farmhouse and nearby outbuildings.
Glenarm came to wider public attention earlier this year when severe late winter blizzards enveloped farms in the surrounding hills in a thick blanket of snow, killing thousands of livestock and cutting off many families for days.
Alliance councillor Gerardine Mulvenna said the Glenarm community was in shock.
“It’s just a terrible tragedy,” she said.
“It’s such a close-knit community and everybody will be reeling at the shock of this – it’s really hard to believe.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the relatives of the two men.”
East Antrim DUP MP Sammy Wilson has also expressed his condolences to the men’s families.
“The thoughts of the community will be with those who have been so tragically bereaved,” he said.
East Antrim Alliance MLA 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 I would call for anyone with any information to contact the PSNI as soon as possible. I hope the police will be able to determine what was behind this tragic incident tonight.”
SDLP councillor Martin Wilson said: “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.”
Sinn Fein MLA Oliver McMullan said people in the area were struggling to come to terms with the double fatality.
“The mood in the area at the minute is one of disbelief, one of absolute shock and horror at what has happened,” he said.
“It’s a very close-knit community in that Feystown area and everybody knows everybody very well.”