A senior loyalist paramilitary was hacked to death in a brutal attack using his own samurai sword, a senior detective has said.
Veteran Ulster Defence Association (UDA) chief Colin “Bap” Lindsay, 47, and another man, 52-year-old Stanley Wightman, were found with severe injuries lying in the living room of Mr Lindsay’s home in Belfast’s Belvoir estate last night.
Library picture of a samurai sword
The father of two, a well known figure within loyalism, was pronounced dead at the blood-soaked scene of the frenzied killing at his Kirkistown Walk property.
Detectives believe the attack had a “personal” motivation and was not linked to any terrorist activity or paramilitary feud.
Mr Wightman has undergone emergency surgery and remains in a critical condition in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital with “significant injuries” to his neck and arms.
A 46-year-old man arrested at a house close by continues to be questioned by police on suspicion of murder and attempted murder.
In an unusual step, the detective leading the investigation named the suspect as Albert Armstrong.
Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Detective Chief Inspector Richard Campbell said a sword he believed was the murder weapon was recovered from a blue Mazda car, registration FHZ 6126, a vehicle understood to be owned by Mr Armstrong.
“My assessment at the minute is that it is likely that was the weapon used in the attack,” he said.
Mr Campbell, who described the incident as “extremely violent”, said he was naming the suspect and two victims in an effort to gain more information about what happened.
“I am taking the unusual step today of naming the three men involved because I believe that it is important to do that as part of my appeal for information from the community,” he said.
When asked if the sword belonged to Mr Lindsay, the detective replied: “I believe it was in his property, yes.”
Mr Campbell did not elaborate on the dead man’s paramilitary links.
“Mr Lindsay was known to police but that shouldn’t take away from the fact that he has suffered a very brutal death last night, completely unnecessary,” he said.
“He is a father of 12-year-old and 18-year-old girls and he is survived by his mother, all of whom are grieving his loss today – that’s what we need to concentrate on.”
Outlining the PSNI’s main line of inquiry, he added: “I would emphasise this appears to be an incident that is motivated as a result of personal relationships and there is no wider paramilitary or criminal involvement that should raise tensions.”
The police response unfolded when officers received a report from a concerned member of the public just before 8pm. They went to a house on the Belvoir estate and arrested Mr Armstrong and recovered the sword from the Mazda car. Officers then went to Mr Lindsay’s home and forced entry.
“They were confronted with the scene of two men very, very seriously injured,” said Mr Campbell.
“They attempted to render first aid while an ambulance was called.”
He added: “This was a very brutal attack and obviously very unpleasant for the officers and anyone else who had to see it.”
The detective appealed to anyone who saw either of the three men yesterday, or were aware of their movements, to come forward.
South Belfast Assembly member Jimmy Spratt called for calm after the attack, noting that tensions are already high as the height of the loyal order marching season approaches.
“Murder has no place in our society and I would urge anyone with information to contact the PSNI immediately,” said the DUP representative.