North: Man held over cyclist's murder

A man was questioned today by police investigating the murder of a musician whose body was found in a Northern Ireland river.

A man was questioned today by police investigating the murder of a musician whose body was found in a Northern Ireland river.

A post-mortem examination revealed that father-of-five Jim Gilchrist, 62, had injuries consistent with being assaulted, but died from drowning.

Detective Chief Inspector Tom Woods who is heading up the inquiry said: “He was a decent, law-abiding man. Maybe he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Police have been given a court order granting officers another 36 hours to question the man about the murder.

Inspector Woods added: “We have no confirmed motive, but we do not believe it was sectarian.”

He was last seen just after midnight a week ago leaving a meeting of a motor cycle club at the Oval Bar in Duke Street, Derry.

He cycled across the top deck of Craigavon Bridge, turned right into John Street, and then on to the embankment of the River Foyle towards home at Woodbrook on the Buncrana Road, three miles away.

His body was discovered in the water in the late afternoon the following day.

Mr Woods’ black racing bike with dropped handle bars, wallet, mobile telephone and glasses are still missing.

He was a jazz and blues musician who had been living in Derry since 1967 after moving from Scotland.

His family suspected he had been murdered after the body was recovered from the Foyle not far from Craigavon Bridge. But it was not until today that police confirmed they had launched a murder investigation.

The man being questioned is also from Derry’s cityside.

Police divers today searched a stretch of the river in a bid to find the missing bicycle and Mr Gilchrist’s personal belongings.

His body was formally identified by a daughter who noticed bruised eyes and cuts as well as blood on her father’s long grey hair.

Later Mr Gilchrist’s wife Eileen said: “This is heartbreaking. I can’t believe it. He was such a great husband and father.”

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