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Tributes paid to assault victim who died after Ardglass attack

Stefan Zait, who was originally from Romania, had been living in Northern Ireland for six years

A ROMANIAN man who had made Co Down his home has been described as a " kind man" following his death in a brutal attack.

Police said Stefan Zait (45) was the victim of "a brutal and senseless attack in broad daylight" in Ardglass on Tuesday.

Detectives launched a murder probe after he died in hospital two days following the assault.

Mr Zait was attacked on the Downpatrick Road and Strangford Road area of the village between 10.30am and 11am.

Police were granted extra time yesterday to question a 20-year-old man arrested following the assault. A 40-year-old woman also remained in police custody last night.

A 23-year-old man arrested in relation to the assault a short time after it happened was later released on bail pending further enquiries.

Mr Zait was originally from Romania and had been living in Northern Ireland for six years. He worked on fishing vessels in Ardglass harbour.

Among online tributes one friend wrote: "My heart is breaking for poor Stefan and his family. He was a kind man and will be sorely missed".

Another pal said: "Very sad news to hear today, Stefan will be missed from everyone at the Lighthouse Bar Ardglass he loved a wee whiskey or two. RIP thoughts and prayers with his family and friends".

Another tribute said: "RIP Big Stefan. Hard to believe. A nice guy to myself, never passed without saying hello. God Bless and rest easy big fella, thoughts and prayers with all related to Stefan".

Sinn Féin assembly member Emma Rogan expressed her condolences to the family of Mr Zait.

"The people of Ardglass are stunned and shocked at this news," she said.

"It is a terrible tragedy and I want to express my sympathies to his family and friends, my thoughts are with them at this devastating time."

PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Eamonn Corrigan said: "Stefan’s family are devastated and they deserve to know what happened to him".

He added: "I would like to hear from anyone who witnessed this violent incident during which Stefan sustained fatal injuries".

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