Detectives from the Serious Crime Branch are investigating the murders of Finbar McGrillen (42,) believed to be from Castlewellan and Caron Smyth (40) originally from Drumaness whose bodies were found in a flat at Ravenhill Court in south-east Belfast last Friday, have been granted additional time to question a 33-year old man.
A court has given police an additional thirty hours to question the man who was arrested on Saturday. Police inquiries are continuing.
The bodies were discovered in the quiet area of Ravenhill Court in the flat. It is understood that the police are treating this as a domestic homicide.
Police are appealing for witesses and information about the murders which took place between 3pm on Wednesday and a 3pm Friday last week.
A special incident room has been established at Musgrave Police Station following the discovery of the bodies. Anyone who can assist with any information about this incident is asked to contact the Incident Room on 0845 600 8000. Alternatively, people can call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
South Down MP Margaret Ritchie (SDLP) has expressed her sympathy to the families of the Drumaness woman whose body was found in a house in East Belfast over the weekend and also to the second victim.
Ms Ritchie said: “It was very distressing to hear the details of this double murder in east Belfast over the weekend. The woman who was killed has family in Drumaness, and speaking on behalf of the whole community I am sure they will rally around and provide whatever support they can at this terrible time. I know that the South Down community will do its utmost to provide its support and solidarity at this time.
“Such a tragic loss is devastating at any time of the year, but it is even sadder so close to Christmas, which is a time for families getting together. My thoughts and prayers are with all the families.”
Newcastle area Councillor Alliance Patrick Clarke has strongly condemned the double murder.
He said: “I wish to extend my heartfelt sympathies to the families of both Caron Smyth and Finbar McGrillen who were both tragically murdered in an apartment in Ravenhill Court area on Friday.
“I am especially saddened to learn of the murder of Caron Smyth as we both attended St. Colman’s High School in Ballynahinch. ”
“The murder of Caron Smyth will come as a great shock to the local community in the Drumaness area particularly to all who knew her.”