Northern Ireland news

Man held in east Belfast Reece Leeman murder probe remains in custody

Reece Leeman
Brendan Hughes

POLICE were continuing to question a man on suspicion of murder yesterday following the death of a 21-year-old man in a stabbing in east Belfast.

Reece Leeman collapsed in the early hours of Friday at Connsbrook Drive, Sydenham, and was taken to hospital where he died from his injuries.

A 28-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder remained in custody on Sunday.

An 18-year-old arrested on the same charge was released unconditionally. The teenager was later re-arrested on suspicion of aggravated burglary and robbery and remains in custody.

Police were alerted to the stabbing at about 1.50am on Friday.

Detective Inspector Joanne Harris said her thoughts were with Mr Leeman's family and friends "who are trying to come to terms with their sudden loss".

"Our investigations continue and I am following a number of lines of enquiry," she said.

"At this time, however, I can say we are not seeking anyone else in relation to Reece's death but I do want to make a number of specific appeals in a bid to piece together Reece's movements in the final hours before his untimely death.

"I know Reece had gone to an address on Kyle Street with another male sometime before 1.50am.

"Some type of altercation occurred inside the house when Reece was there. He was subsequently discovered collapsed on the street on Connsbrook Drive with stab wounds."

Anyone who saw Mr Leeman the day before the attack in the area, or with another man, has been urged to contact police or phone Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

"No matter how insignificant you think the information you have is, please contact us. Your information could be key to our investigation," Ms Harris added.

On Twitter, Larne Football Club wrote: "The club would like to pass on our sincere sympathy to former manager Tommy Leeman on the loss of his nephew Reece."

DUP East Belfast MLA Robin Newton described the death as a "dreadful incident that will raise concerns across the community".

"The police need the support of the whole community as they carry out their work. Anyone with even the smallest scrap of information needs to help them keep our community safe," he said.

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