A pensioner found murdered in his own home was tied up on a chair and stabbed in the chest, police have said.
Retired plumber Eddie Girvan, 67, was discovered by chance on Monday night when two officers making routine inquiries about an individual police had earlier stopped in Belfast called at his house in Greenisland, Co Antrim.
The person stopped in Belfast was then arrested on suspicion of murder, along with two other people.
The three suspects – a 29-year-old woman and two men, aged 23 and 24 – remained in custody on Tuesday.
Police are trying to establish a motive for the brutal killing.
Mr Girvan, a separated father of two, was an antiques enthusiast and had many valuable items in his semi-detached home on Station Road, however nothing of note was stolen from the property.
One of the victim’s two cars – a silver Hyundai Sonata with registration MKZ 9818 – had been removed and was later recovered by police around 10 miles away on Verner Street in Belfast city centre.
Police said the vehicle was seen leaving Greenisland just before 7.30am on Monday being “driven dangerously”. It is understood to have later been involved in a minor crash in Belfast city centre.
Mr Girvan, who was well known in the area and had lived in the same house for decades, was found dead at 9.30pm.
The officer leading the investigation, Detective Chief Inspector John McVea, said: “This has been a horrific crime and sympathies go out to the family of Mr Girvan.
“This is quite a shocking crime and sadly he has had a painful and violent death.”
He added: “I would reassure the community that this is an unusual event and police are doing everything they can to discover why he has met his death.”
Mr McVea said one of the three suspects arrested on suspicion of murder had been stopped in relation to an “unrelated matter” on Monday afternoon.
He said this had prompted police to make “routine inquiries” at Mr Girvan’s house.
“One of the persons that is under arrest for murder was stopped in Belfast on a routine matter and it was due to the inquiries being made with one of the arrested persons that led us to come to this address,” he said.
“Following the discovery of Mr Girvan, that person was then arrested on suspicion of murder.”
He added: “After his body was found, two other people were then arrested in Belfast.”
The detective appealed for anyone who noticed anything suspicious at Mr Girvan’s home at 162 Station Road over the weekend through to 7am on Monday to come forward.