The detective leading the Karol Kelly murder investigation has issued an extraordinary appeal against the speculation, rumour and misinformation that’s been circulating in Londonderry in the wake of the 35-year-old’s murder on Sunday.
In a remarkable intervention, Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy asked people not to participate in a dangerous slew of hearsay and misinformation that’s been flowing freely, particularly on social media, since the Creggan man died from injuries sustained in a late-night altercation in Grafton Street at the weekend.
Detective Supt. Murphy said: “I am concerned that inaccurate information is currently circulating through the community about the events of the weekend.
“I am asking people to be responsible if they are discussing those events.
“I am asking people to base their views on facts, not rumour or speculation.”
Three people have been charged with Mr. Kelly’s murder, which is now the subject of ongoing court proceedings.
Detective Supt. Murphy, acknowledging the “outrage in the local community”, said he was reliant on the public for information as he and his team continued to investigate the circumstances surrounding Mr. Kelly’s death
However, he said the circulation of false and uncorroborated information concerning the sad events of last Saturday night and Sunday morning was entirely unhelpful.
“This is why I have decided to tell the community something about what the investigation has established so far,” said the senior detective.
“This might develop in the coming weeks, but so far, these are the facts: there is currently no evidence of the involvement of paramilitary groups in the events of Saturday night and Sunday morning.
“There is currently no evidence that the weekend’s incident was linked to threats which may have been made by, or on behalf of, paramilitary groups in the past.
“There is currently no evidence of a link between the weekend’s incident and a reported pipe bomb having been left in Grafton Street several weeks ago.
“Police are conducting an investigation to establish why Karol Kelly went to Grafton Street and the circumstances surrounding his killing.
“There is currently no evidence that a paramilitary style attack took place in Grafton Street, but police do believe that an altercation took place in a property in Grafton Street immediately prior to the assault which resulted in the death of Karol Kelly.
“The investigation team is working closely with local officers and the local community.
“The investigation will consider all reasonable lines of enquiry.
“The investigation is ongoing. Attempts to influence or intimidate witnesses, or otherwise hinder the investigation, will be dealt with swiftly and officers will seek to place offenders before the courts immediately.”
The unprecedented move followed tense scenes on Wednesday as dozens of police officers attended a court hearing at Bishop Street Courthouse during which two men were charged with Mr. Kelly’s murder.
“I would ask that anyone with information contact the police on 101, or alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime,” he said.