Northern Ireland

David Clarke murder: Police re-open investigation into Belfast killing

David Clarke Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Police said David Clarke's murder was one of the most brutal killings they had dealt with

Police have re-opened an investigation into the murder of a man in north Belfast 14 years ago.

David Clarke, 26, who had learning difficulties, was beaten to death in his flat at Forthriver Road on 6 June 2001.

At the time, police said it was one of the most savage and brutal killings they had ever dealt with.

Det Ch Insp Alan Dickson said the inquiry had been re-opened after detectives received new information.

Mr Clarke's body was found in his flat later on the day of his death by friends who were concerned for him.


He had been an "inoffensive and vulnerable" man and died after an "increasingly frenzied" assault, DCI Dickson said.

"I have been a police officer for 28 years and a murder detective for 13 of those years," he said.

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Mr Clarke's attackers smashed the fixtures, fittings and ornaments in his home, police said

"Apart from the wounds sustained by gunshot victims, David's injuries are the worst I have seen.

"This was a frenzied and savage attack."

Police said Mr Clarke had been bullied in the weeks leading up to his murder.


DCI Dickson said there was no paramilitary involvement in the murder and people should not be concerned about bringing information forward.

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Mr Clarke had been attacked because he was an easy target, police said

"This was an incident in which a vulnerable young man, who was no threat to anyone, was savagely beaten because he was an easy target.

"The community took David to its heart - people helped to pay for his funeral, his grave is tended to this day by locals and his old flat is now a community centre known locally as Clarke House.

"The information needed to apprehend David's killer, or killers, lies within the local community at Forthriver and Glencairn.

"Even though there were a number of arrests in the original investigation, there is a sense that this is a forgotten murder.

"It has certainly not been forgotten by police or, probably, by those involved."

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