Murder investigation after Coleraine man confronts burglar

Sheila & Bertie Acheson Sheila & Bertie Acheson

The police are treating the death of a 72-year-old man in the Mountsandel area of Coleraine as murder.

Bertie Acheson was assaulted when he confronted an intruder who broke into his house in Glenmore Gardens at about 01:30 BST on Monday.

It is understood the burglar got in through a back window.

After the confrontation, the intruder threatened Mr Acheson's wife, Sheila, before escaping with £375.

Mr Acheson's injuries were described by police as minor - he died a short time after the confrontation.

Senior investigating officer, Det Ch Insp Ian Harrison said: "This was a tragic incident which has caused widespread shock in the local community. I would appeal for everyone in the community to work with us in bringing this intruder before the courts."

Police want anyone who saw or heard any suspicious activity to contact them.

They also said the intruder may have been cut or injured during the incident and appealed to the individual or anyone who know him to contact the PSNI.

Mrs Acheson's purse was stolen and police asked anyone who sees the red purse or the credit cards in her name to also get in touch with police.

The dead man used to work for Northern Ireland's electricity board. In retirement he was well-known as a chimney sweep in the Coleraine community.

'Lovely man'

His widow has significant mobility problems and Mr Acheson was her full-time, primary carer.

One neighbour described him as a "lovely man".

Scene at Glenmore Gardens in Coleraine The incident happened in Coleraine's Mountsandel area

Another said she had known him since the early 1980s and said he was a "very caring man, always out with his wife".

Assembly member David McClarty said it was devastating for the family

"I knew of the family, (they are) highly respected," he said.

"For this to happen, for a gentleman to live into his 70s, making a contribution to the society in which he lived and to end up in such tragic circumstances, it's very sad."

The intruder was described as being tall, wearing a dark coloured coat, light grey jogging bottoms and spoke with a local accent.

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