Eldery (68) NI widower murdered - police believe killer was 'bloodstained' leaving house
Detectives investigating the death of 68 year-old Michael Kerr in Bangor believe his killer or killers would have been "bloodstained" leaving Mr. Kerr's house.
Mr. Kerr's body was discovered in his home in Bangor on Tuesday but it was not until Thursday evening that the PSNI were able to confirm they were treating the incident as a murder.
Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy is heading up the investigation into the murder of Michael, known as Mike to his friends.
"Mike was the victim of a vicious, sustained and violent beating which resulted in his death," said DS Murphy.
"He suffered skull and facial fractures as a result.
"Mike's body showed no sign of defensive injuries and he is likely to have been utterly defenceless in the face of the violence he faced."
DS Murphy said he believes Mr. Kerr was attacked and killed in his home but confirmed there were no signs of forced entry at the property.
"The investigation is at an early stage, however it is important that in addition for my appeal for help from the public, that we provide some early information and reassurance.
"The circumstances surrounding Mike's murder are likely to develop in the coming days, but I believe at this point that the attack happened inside his house in Birch Drive, off the Rathgael Road.
"I do not know at this stage how many people attacked Mike or whether Mike knew them.
"There is no sign of forced entry to the house and that leaves two likely scenarios - either Mike let his killers into his home or the doors to his house were not locked."
Mr. Kerr was last seen in Bangor on Sunday and DS Murphy appealed to anyone who may have seen Mr. Kerr to contact his team immediately.
"The last confirmed sighting of Mike was on Sunday in Birch Drive and we need to precisely establish Mike's movements during the last few days of his life, particularly between 8am on Saturday until around 4pm on Tuesday.
"Mike was a private person and I am keen to establish as much as I can about his lifestyle, friends and acquaintances.
"Mike was a man of routine and it is likely that locals saw Mike in the local Bangor area in the days before he was killed."
DS Murphy added: "We are keeping an open mind as to the motive for Mike's murder.
"At this stage we do not believe that this was a paramilitary style attack, nor do we believe that Mike's murder was sexually motivated.
"We are currently considering whether Mike was attacked because he disturbed intruders in his home or that he was murdered because of a personal vendetta.
"The Major Investigation Team is working closely with local policing and is using local officers and local knowledge to advance enquiries.
"The Neighbourhood Policing Team will support the investigation and can be contacted if anyone in the community does not wish to contact detectives directly.
"Local officers will continue to be present in the area, together with specialist search teams and my detectives in the coming days.
"Whilst there is no evidence at this stage that the public are at risk, I am asking the public to be vigilant and to continue to take some simple precautions.
"External doors should be locked when not in use; cold callers should be identified and checked and any suspicious activity should be reported to police."
DS Murphy also asked the public to contact them if they noticed a change in a friend or a family member over the last couple of days.
"I believe that whoever killed Mike will have been bloodstained when they left his house.
"In recent days they may have disappeared or begun acting strangely.
"Has anyone you know come home with bloodstained clothing or returned home in different clothing from whatever they were wearing earlier?
"Do you have concerns that someone you know might have been involved in Mike's murder?
"If so, please contact us."
He added: "Finally, whilst we have not yet fully established what weapons were used in the ferocious attack on Mike, I am asking the public to help us to identify potential weapons that may have been discarded after his murder.
"If you are in Birch Drive and the surrounding area and you come across any item or object that could potentially be our murder weapon or if an item looks out of place, please get in touch.
"Mike was a widower having lost his wife around 15 years ago.
"His brother, sister, niece and nephew are this morning coming to terms with Mike's brutal murder.
"Our thoughts are with the family and we will continue to support them throughout the investigation.
"I believe that answers to Mike's murder lie within the community and I am appealing for the public's help in identifying those responsible this vicious attack.
"If anyone has any information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, detectives can be contacted at Bangor PSNI station on 101.
"Alternatively contact can be made confidentially with the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111."