Police investigate Antrim link to pensioner’s murder
POLICE investigating the murder of a Coleraine pensioner are investigating the possibility that an Antrim person may have been involved in the killing.
Detectives from the Serious Crime Branch revealed on Monday that their enquiries into the death of Bertie Acheson have shifted to the Antrim area.
Police said information has become available which has shifted the focus away from Coleraine and is now concentrating police attention in the Antrim area.
And, police took to the streets with checkpoints across the Antrim area on Monday, with officers speaking to motorists and handing out leaflets as part of their enquiries.
The officer leading the investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Ian Harrison, said he was “not at liberty to disclose the exact nature of the new information which has become available” to police which has directed them to Antrim, but he said: “I can say that it is significant.
“It means we are now focusing our attention on the Antrim area because that is where we believe the killer is based.”
Seventy-two-year-old Mr Acheson died following a confrontation with an intruder at his home in Glenmore Gardens in Coleraine in the early hours of Monday, April 30.
Mr Acheson and his wife Sheila were in bed asleep when at around 1.30am they were wakened by the sound of breaking glass.
Mr Acheson got up out of bed to see what had happened and went into the kitchen where he was confronted by a male intruder.
The intruder demanded money and there was an altercation and a struggle which resulted in Mr Acheson falling to the floor.
The intruder then made his way into the bedroom where he threatened Mrs Acheson, who is 70 years of age and suffers from arthritis, before taking her red purse and escaping with £375.
Mrs Acheson raised the alarm but by the time ambulance personnel and police arrived, her husband was dead.
Police have conducted extensive inquiries in the murder investigation - detectives have visited 240 houses and taken 200 statements from members of the public.
A substantial amount of material has been downloaded from a total of 80 CCTV systems and is being studied. In addition, significant forensic examinations are ongoing.
DCI Harrison added: “We are making progress and this latest development of new information will provide further assistance. We are grateful to the wider community for the information which they have already provided to us.
“I would remind people, and I believe there are individuals in the Antrim area who know who was involved in Bertie Acheson’s murder, that there is a £10,000 reward available from the independent charity Crimestoppers for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the man responsible for Bertie’s murder.
“We are asking people to think back to Monday, April 30 and the days immediately after that. Do you know anyone who travelled from their home in the Antrim area to Coleraine in the early hours of 30 April?
“Was there a man you know who was acting in an unusual manner or whose behaviour seemed suspicious? If you have any suspicions or concerns, we want to talk to you. We will treat any information in the strictest confidence but we need the information.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives at the Incident Room in Coleraine on 028 7028 0987 or through the Crimestoppers charity, where people can provide information without giving their details, on 0800 555 111.
DCI Harrison said Bertie’s widow, Sheila, and the rest of his family are still trying to come to terms with his death almost six months later.
“The family have told me they have no sense of normality anymore,” DCI Harrison said.
He added: “Their lives have been turned upside down. They try to go on as normal but it is very difficult.
“There will be no closure for them until the person responsible has been caught. They wonder if this person has a conscience and, if so, does Bertie’s death ever bother them. Bertie’s life was taken but so many more lives have been shattered by his murder.”
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