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Double murder has stunned community

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Double murder has stunned community thumbnailMichael and Marjorie Cawdery

THE family of Michael and Marjorie Cawdery have described how the "awful and incomprehensible" murders of the Portadown elderly couple has "deprived our family of two wonderful people".

The heartbreaking statement was issued by police on behalf of the family, who -- along with local community -- are struggling to comprehend the horrifying circumstances behind their deaths.

The couple, both aged 83, were murdered in what police have described as a "brutal attack" in their Upper Ramone Park home in Portadown last Friday afternoon.

Police, have revealed that they were called to the pensioners' property around 3.40pm on May 26 where they discovered the couple's bodies. It is understood officers had been called to the scene by a relative. Earlier that day, around 12.20pm, officers had received a report of a male breaking into a car in the Upper Ramone Park area.

Within hours after the incident taking place, a 40-year-old man was subsequently arrested in connection to the murders in the Springsfields area of Portadown. The PSNI was granted additional time to interview the suspect at the weekend, and he was still being questioned by serious crime branch officers as The Ulster Gazette went to press.

A grey Renault Kango van, a vehicle belonging to the couple that had been taken from their home, was also located by police in the Edenderry Gardens area within hours of the attack.

As police carry out their investigation, the community in Portadown is still grappling to coming to terms with the double murder attack. As Upper Bann political representatives express their sympathies and condolences to the couple's relatives, the Cawdrey family has asked for privacy as they comes to terms with their loss. In their statement they continued, "The awful and incomprehensible events of Friday, May 26 have deprived our family of two wonderful people, Michael and Marjorie, who were our father, mother, brother, sister and grandparents.

"We thank the police for their prompt response and professional actions. We also thank everyone who has expressed sympathy in whatever way and offered help."

Upper Bann DUP MLA, Jonathan Buckley, meanwhile, said Portadown had been "united in grief" since the "terrible news" had emerged. "It is totally shocking and beyond comprehension, a feeling that is being felt right across Portadown.

"Foremost our thoughts are with Michael and Marjorie's family at this extremely difficult time. This awful event took place in a quiet, family-orientated residential area, home to many older people," he said.

His comments were echoed by SDLP Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Councillor, Declan McAlinden who branded the killings an "atrocious crime". "It's difficult to find the words to describe a heinous crime like this," he said in a statement. "The entire community is just in shock that someone could murder an elderly couple in their own home like this."

Speaking at the weekend, ABC UUP Councillor Doug Beattie revealed that he saw first-hand the immediate impact of the attack as new broke in the Upper Ramone Park area. "I was on the scene shortly after the incident and the local community was visibly shocked," he said.

"The family affected and the local community must be given time and space to come to terms with this dreadful tragedy."

As officers continue to interview the suspect, Detective Superintendent Kevin Geddes issued an appeal for anyone with information to come forward, particularly in relation to the movements of the couple's Renault Kango van, registration NJZ 610. "We need to know the movements of this car from the time it left Upper Ramone Park until it was recovered in Edenderry Gardens. Again, please get in touch with detectives on the non-emergency number 101 if you saw it in the Portadown area [on May 26] between 3.30pm - 5pm."

The senior policer added "Anyone with information should contact police on the non-emergency number 101. Or, if you would prefer to provide information without giving your details, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111."

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