Murdered man ‘got on with everybody’ - Niece

PACEMAKER BELFAST   29/04/2015'Police at the scene of a murder  in the Drumtara area of Ballymena.  Police are treating the death of a 69-year-old man  as murder,  Two men and a  woman are  being questioned in connection with his death.'Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 29/04/2015'Police at the scene of a murder in the Drumtara area of Ballymena. Police are treating the death of a 69-year-old man as murder, Two men and a woman are being questioned in connection with his death.'Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

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Murdered Harryville pensioner Matt Shirley has been categorised as a friendly character who got on with his neighbours and loved to walk his dogs.

And, while it was freely admitted by all who knew him that he had a ‘problem with the drink’, his behaviour was correct at all times.

Mr Shirley’s niece Amanda McCooke used to live in a flat on Wakehurst Road directly above her uncle.

She said: “There was never any bother when he was there on his own. He was quiet, he didn’t bother anybody and he would have went out for walks. He got on with everybody.”

It is understood that Mr. Shirley had worked in the Braidwater Spinning Mill many years ago.

Bertie Thompson (69) who went to Harryville School with Mr Shirley when they were boys described him as amicable person who loved walking with his dog.

“He would have gone maybe three or four miles or more to Broughshane and Kells, sometimes at six o’clock in the morning,” said Mr. Thompson.

Mr Shirley (69) was known as ‘Matha’ to friends and had lived alone at Wakehurst Road in Ballymena’s Harryville district but his body was discovered around a mile away in the Drumtara estate.

On Wednesday morning, police had a flat sealed off and the only possible signs of a disturbance from outside was a boarded up window.

It is understood a party had been held in a property in recent days and Mr Shirley’s body was found on Tuesday.