Newcastle murder victim would have helped anyone: Pastor

A man who was found murdered in Newcastle was “a character who would have helped anyone no matter who you were” and volunteered in support of those with addiction problems, a pastor has said.

Police have arrested two men on suspicion of the murder of 29-year-old Padraig Fox in the Burrendale Park Road area of Newcastle.

Murder victim Padraig Fox

Murder victim Padraig Fox

Detective Chief Inspector Peter McKenna said police received a report at 1.45pm on Saturday that Mr Fox’s body had been discovered at a flat.

After the results of a post-mortem examination on Sunday, Mr McKenna said he was treating the death as murder.

Police have arrested two men aged 26 and 21 and were last night granted extra time to question the older suspect.

Pastor Paul Crangle of the Elim Pentecostal Church in Newcastle said that Padraig had attended his church for two years, although he was not a formal member.

A police officer outside a block of flats in Burrendale Park Road in Newcastle where the body of 29-year-old Padraig Fox was found

A police officer outside a block of flats in Burrendale Park Road in Newcastle where the body of 29-year-old Padraig Fox was found

“Padraig was a character in himself,” Pastor Crangle told the News Letter. “He would have helped anyone no matter who you were and would have prayed with anyone, no matter where or when.

“We never had any problem with him. He would have been someone who would have befriended others in the church.”

Although unemployed, Padraig was a keen volunteer with a charity in supporting people who were addicted to drugs, he said.

“He also helped us at the church with the night chaplaincy, where we provide tea and coffee for people coming out of the pubs at night and make sure they get home safely.”

A funeral notice for Mr Fox said he was the “dearly beloved son of Marie and cherished brother of Francine, Sean and Stacey, RIP”. It added that his death is “deeply regretted by his sorrowing mother, sisters, brother, dad Mark, nieces, nephews and entire family circle”.

Funeral arrangements are yet to be confirmed.

Sinn Fein councillor John Rice said the Fox family had lived in Castlewellan and that Mr Fox had moved into Newcastle in the past year or so. “Padraig was a regular guy in Castlewellan who kept to himself,” he said.

SDLP MLA Colin McGrath said that the news was a ”chilling tragedy” while his party colleague Laura Devlin said it was “just awful” that the Fox family had to deal with the tragic news just before Christmas. She called on people to bring information to police.

The PSNI has appealed for information on tel 101, ref 712 8/12/18 or anonymously on the Crimestoppers helpline, tel 0800 555 111.