Pensioners suffered brutal attack, say detectives in murder probe

Updated: 

Two pensioners found murdered in their own home were the victims of a brutal attack, a senior detective has said.

A 40-year-old man arrested after the killings was found close to a vehicle stolen from the property in Portadown, Co Armagh, Police Service of Northern Ireland Detective Superintendent Kevin Geddes said.

Police and emergency services were called to the house in Upper Ramone Park around 3.40pm on Friday after the married couple, believed to be in their 80s, were found dead by a relative. 

It is understood they were stabbed.

Mr Geddes said a grey Kangoo van, reg NJZ 6101, stolen from the couple's home was found around 5pm in the nearby Edenderry area.

"We are now treating this as a murder investigation and I would like to appeal for any information around it," he said.

He added: "It was a very brutal attack but I would like to reassure the public there are extra police patrols in the area and that will remain and we have made an arrest.

"That male was arrested close to the area where the vehicle was found in the Springfields area of Portadown."

The detective said officers were also investigating whether an attempt to break into a car parked in Upper Ramone Park at 12.20pm on Friday was linked to the murders.

Mr Geddes said the suspect was arrested under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, and not detained under mental health legislation.

He will remain in police custody overnight for questioning.

The incident has left residents of what is a quiet residential street stunned.

A Neighbourhood Watch sign was visible yards from the house on Friday evening.

Several police officers guarded the scene as forensic officers conducted examinations.

DUP representative David Simpson said: "A family member was the first to find them and we can only begin to imagine the shock, heartbreak and pain this has caused.

"It is important the family receive time and space to grieve the loss of two parents in such tragic circumstances."

Ulster Unionist Doug Beattie said: "This is a very quiet area of Portadown which has been visited by an absolutely terrifying situation this afternoon.

"An elderly couple in their 80s have been murdered in their own home and my thoughts and prayers are with them, their family and their friends.

"I was on the scene shortly after the incident and the local community was visibly shocked."

Local SDLP councillor Declan McAlinden said the couple were the victim of a "heinous crime".

"The entire community is just in shock that someone could murder an elderly couple in their own home like this," he said.

"I would appeal to anyone with any information or who saw anything suspicious in the area to come forward to police as soon as possible."

Police cordons sealed off the house where the bodies were found and a large area of the street outside.

Shocked neighbours gathered along the street trying to gather information about what had happened.