Man whose death led to a murder investigation in Ballymena is named locally as Robin McMaster

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The scene at Devenagh Court in Ballymena was still sealed off on Friday afternoon. Picture – North East News.

THE man whose sudden death led to a murder investigation in Ballymena has been named locally as Robin McMaster.

The 40-year-old was described by Devenagh Court neighbour Martin McAvoy as “fun-loving” and “happy-go-lucky”.

Mr McMaster is understood to have lived at the upstairs flat where his body was found on Thursday.

His death sent shock waves across the town and another neighbour in the Rectory estate, said it was it normally a quiet area where she had lived for several years.

Meanwhile, Martin McAvoy said: “He was fun-loving, happy-go-lucky, never caused any trouble, just a good member of society here.

“He was a good neighbour. It’s a pity we didn’t have more like him.

“It is a total shock, like a death in the family because that is what it feels like,” Mr McAvoy told the BBC.

Billy McMaster posted on social media: “Thinking of my cuz and family circle at this sad time. God bless xx”.

A man told ‘Ballymena Daily’ he knew Mr McMaster from being around the town and attending Ballymena United matches.

He added: “Talk away so he did and a gentleman”.

The Mayor of Mid & East Antrim, Councillor Lindsay Millar (Ulster Unionist), said it was “upsetting” to hear of a tragic death in Ballymena.

She added: “My sympathies go out to the victim’s family and friends.”

She encouraged anyone with information to contact police.

Ballymena SDLP councillor Declan O’Loan said: “I want to express my sympathy to the family of the man who has died and we know that the police are investigating this as a murder.

“Devenagh Court is a very quiet and settled area and the immediate neighbourhood and the entire community in Ballymena are very shocked.”

The councillor said there was sadness that a “relatively young life” had been brought to an end.

He appealed for anyone with information to get in touch with the police.

The PSNI were still at the scene late on Friday afternoon and detectives continued to carry out door-to-door enquiries.

Near the entrance to the block of flats, where Mr McMaster’s body was found, candles and religious pictures had been put in place on Friday.

On Thursday night police said their Major Investigation Team had launched a murder investigation following the death of a 40-year-old man at a property in Devenagh Court.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter McKenna, who is leading the investigation, said on Thursday night: “The death was reported to us at 3pm this afternoon. A post mortem examination has yet to take place but, at this time, I am treating this as murder.

“A 53-year-old woman was subsequently arrested on suspicion of murder and remains in police custody at this time.

“My thoughts go out to the victim’s family at this tragic time.

“I want to appeal to anyone who has any information to contact detectives on 101 quoting reference 732 of 22/11/18.

“Alternatively information can be passed to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”

On Friday night, police said the woman was released on bail pending further enquiries and the outcome of a post mortem on Saturday but she was then arrested and charged with fraud by false representation and is due to appear at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Saturday.

 

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