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Murder probe launched after man (68) dies in 'vicious and violent' attack in Co Down

The body of Michael Kerr was discovered inside his home in Bangor on Tuesday.

Birch Drive, Bangor, Co Down
Birch Drive, Bangor, Co Down
Image: Google Street View

POLICE IN NORTHERN Ireland have launched a murder enquiry after a 68-year-old man died following a “vicious, sustained and violent” beating in his home. 

The body of Michael Kerr, known as Mike to his friends, was discovered inside his home in Bangor, Co Down on Tuesday. 

Kerr suffered skull and facial fractures in the attack. His body showed no sign of defensive injuries and he is “likely to have been utterly defenceless in the face of the violence he faced”, the PSNI said. 

“Mike was the victim of a vicious, sustained and violent beating which resulted in his death,” Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy said.

Murphy believes, at this point, that the attack happened inside Kerr’s house in Birch Drive, off the Rathgael Road. 

The PSNI do not currently know how many people attacked Kerr or whether they were known to him. 

There is no sign of forced entry to the house. Murphy said: 

This leaves two likely scenarios – either Mike let his killers into his home or the doors to his house were not locked.

The last confirmed sighting of Kerr was on Sunday in Birch Drive.

“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,” Murphy said. 

“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 him in the local Bangor area in the days before he was killed,” he said. 

The PSNI are currently “keeping an open mind” as to the motive for the murder. At this stage, police do not believe that it was a paramilitary-style attack, nor do they believe that it was sexually motivated. 

Murphy added:

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. 

mike-kerr-death Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy speaks to media at PSNI headquarters in Belfast Source: David Young via PA Images

Appeal

The PSNI 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 be supporting the investigation and Murphy said they “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 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,” Murphy said. 

External doors should be locked when not in use, cold callers should be identified and check and any suspicious activity should be reported to believe. 
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 concerned that someone you know might have been involved in Mike’s murder? If so, please contact us,” Murphy said. 

The PSNI has not yet fully established what weapons were used in the attack on Kerr. 

Police are now asking the public to help identify potential weapons that may have been discarded after the murder. 

Anyone in the Birch Drive and surrounding areas who come across any item or object that could potentially be the murder weapon is asked to 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,” Murphy said. 

Our thoughts are with the family and we will continue to support them through 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 for this vicious attack,” Murphy said. 

Anyone with information is being asked to contact the Bangor PSNI station on 101. 

Alternatively, UK Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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