Murder victim ‘a harmless soul’

Matt 'Matha' Shirley
Matt 'Matha' Shirley

Local people have described Matt ‘Matha’ Shirley, whose death is now the subject of a murder investigation, as a ‘harmless soul’.

Ballymena people took to social media to express their shock and horror at his death. Many referred to seeing the 69-year-old walking his dog around the Harryville and Ballee areas of the town.

Detectives from Serious Crime Branch investigating the circumstances surrounding his death in the Drumtara area of Ballymena on Tuesday (28 April) have confirmed they are treating the incident as murder.

Two men, aged 41 and 49 and a 47 year old woman arrested yesterday as part of the investigation remain in police custody.

Detective Chief Inspector Alan Dickson is continuing to appeal for anyone who was in the Drumtara area from Sunday evening until teatime yesterday and who has any information about an altercation involving a group of people to contact the Detectives on the non-emergency number 101. Alternately information can be passed anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.