SHOCK has been expressed in the Ballykeel One area of Ballymena after police launched a murder investigation.
Shoppers arriving at the main Ballymena Tesco store could see a large area of the nearby Crebilly Road sealed off by police tape.
The crime scene tape stretched from flats at Crebilly Road and went as far as the Moat Road taking in a subway at Larne Road Link.
‘Ballymena Daily’ was in the area on Wednesday morning and a large number of police investigators were present.
Detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Major Investigation Team had launched a murder investigation following the death of a man in a flat at Crebilly Road.
A 29-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder. He remains in police custody at this time, the PSNI said on Wednesday morning.
There was speculation the man who died had only moved into the flats in recent weeks and may not have been from the immediate area.
Near the flats, Sam Greer, who is set to open a new charity shop – Rice Kitchen Ministries – on Thursday, told ‘Ballymena Daily’: “It is absolutely shocking, it is an awful thing to happen here in Ballykeel One.
“It must be terrible for parents and relations to hear what has happened.
“It is just tragic that something so near the shop has happened, really, really, bad.”
Independent councillor Rodney Quigley said the Ballykeel community are in shock.
He told Belfast Live: “The Ballykeel area is a great area and a great place to live. This news this morning that a murder investigation has been launched is without a doubt shocking for the community.
“I would urge anyone with any information or who saw anything suspicious in the area to pass this onto the PSNI.”
There was a previous tragic link to the flats at Crebilly Road.
Shirley Finlay (24) had lived in the area in 2006 when she was strangled to death and her body was found dumped in a duvet in the Mount Street area of Ballymena.
Regarding this week’s incident, PSNI Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell said: “I would ask anyone who heard or saw anything suspicious in the area of Crebilly Road between 12 midday on Tuesday, 29 September and 1am this morning, Wednesday, 30 September to contact detectives on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 52 30/09/20. Alternatively information can also be provided anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Later on Wednesday morning a police spokesperson said: “Detectives investigating the death of a man in a flat in the Crebilly Road, Ballymena, have arrested a 33-year-old man on suspicion of murder. He remains in police custody at this time.”
VIDEOS, PICTURES AND STORY: NEVIN FARRELL.