Police say a pensioner who was found dead at his home in Bangor earlier this week was viciously beaten to death.
68-year-old Mike Kerr was found at his home in the Birch Drive area on Tuesday.
Investigators believe a weapon was used in the attack which happened at some point after 2pm on Sunday.
Neighbours became concerned for Mr Kerr when they noticed the man of habit failed to bring in his blue bin.
Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy, who's leading the investigation, said:
"Mike was the victim of a vicious, sustained and violent beating which resulted in his death. He suffered skull and facial fractures as a result. Mike’s body showed no sign of defensive injuries and he is likely to have been utterly defenceless in the face of the violence he faced."
The investigation is at an early stage, however it is important that in addition for my appeal for help from the public, that we provide some early information and reassurance. The circumstances surrounding Mike’s murder are likely to develop in the coming days, but I believe at this point that the attack happened inside his house in Birch Drive, off the Rathgael Road. I do not know at this stage how many people attacked Mike or whether Mike knew them. There is no sign of forced entry to the house and that leaves two likely scenarios – either Mike let his killers into his home or the doors to his house were not locked."
"The last confirmed sighting of Mike was on Sunday in Birch Drive and we need to precisely establish Mike’s movements during the last few days of his life, particularly between 8am on Saturday until around 4pm on Tuesday. Mike was a private person and I am keen to establish as much as I can about his lifestyle, friends and acquaintances. Mike was a man of routine and it is likely that locals saw Mike in the local Bangor area in the days before he was killed."
Police believe pensioner Michael (Mike) Kerr was “viciously beaten to death in a sustained and violent attack” inside his Co Down home.— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) November 22, 2019
The 68yo widower from Birch Drive in Bangor was found with serious head injuries by neighbours who noticed he hadn’t collected his bin on Tues. pic.twitter.com/T8woZ5I8p8
"We are keeping an open mind as to the motive for Mike’s murder. At this stage we do not believe that this was a paramilitary style attack, nor do we believe that Mike’s murder was sexually motivated. We are currently considering whether Mike was attacked because he disturbed intruders in his home or that he was murdered because of a personal vendetta."
"The Major investigation Team is working closely with local policing and is using local officers and local knowledge to advance enquiries. The Neighbourhood Policing Team will support the investigation and can be contacted if anyone in the community does not wish to contact detectives directly. Local officers will continue to be present in the area, together with specialist search teams and my detectives in the coming days. Whilst there is no evidence at this stage that the public are at risk, I am asking the public to be vigilant and to continue to take some simple precautions. External doors should be locked when not in use; cold callers should be identified and checked and any suspicious activity should be reported to police."
"I believe that whoever killed Mike will have been bloodstained when they left his house. In recent days they may have disappeared or begun acting strangely."
"Has anyone you know come home with bloodstained clothing or returned home in different clothing from whatever they were wearing earlier?
Do you have concerns that someone you know might have been involved in Mike’s murder?"
"If so, please contact us."
"Finally, whilst we have not yet fully established what weapons were used in the ferocious attack on Mike, I am asking the public to help us to identify potential weapons that may have been discarded after his murder. If you are in Birch Drive and the surrounding area and you come across any item or object that could potentially be our murder weapon or if an item looks out of place, please get in touch."
"Mike was a widower having lost his wife around 15 years ago. His brother, sister, niece and nephew are this morning coming to terms with Mike’s brutal murder. Our thoughts are with the family and we will continue to support them throughout the investigation."
"I believe that answers to Mike’s murder lie within the community and I am appealing for the public’s help in identifying those responsible this vicious attack. If anyone has any information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, detectives can be contacted at Bangor PSNI station on 101. Alternatively contact can be made confidentially with the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111."