Murder - PSNI get more time

The PSNI seal off the murder scene at Hollymount park. (0111SL02)

The PSNI seal off the murder scene at Hollymount park. (0111SL02)

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Detectives were yesterday granted more time to question the man suspected of murdering Derry dad Chris McGaughey.

The father of two, from Celadine Court in Gobnascale, died after he was stabbed in the stomach at Hollymount Park at around 1 am on Sunday.

Detectives investigating the fatal stabbing of the 56 year-old were yesterday granted a 36 hours extension by District Judge Barney McElholm so they can continue questioning the 31 year-old murder suspect.

Applying for the maximum permissible extension period, a detective sergeant in the PSNI’s major investigations team told Derry Magistrate’s Court: “The nature of the investigation is murder.”

The sergeant said a number of lines of inquiry were being followed up. These included door-to- door inquiries, the viewing of CCTV footage and the taking of statements from “about fifteen witnesses who have been identified”.

The officer said that thirteen witness statements had been taken. He said the extension would enable detectives to continue to question the suspect, who cannot be named for legal reasons. The detective sergeant said that should forensics “become an issue”, police might well seek a further twenty-four hours extension today.

It’s understood that police are investigating whether the stabbing was linked to an earlier row outside Mr McGaughey’s home.

Desperate attempts were made to save his life after he was found bleeding heavily on a pathway just five minutes from his home. Close family members looked on as ambulance staff tried to save the dying man. He was rushed to Altnagelvin Hospital, where he died a short time later. A woman was also hurt during the incident but her injuries were reported to be not serious.

Mr McGaughey is survived by his wife Georgina and their children Christina (28) and James (17). Father Chris Ferguson said Mr McGaughey’s family were very well-known in the community and were devastated by his death. He described the self-employed joiner and handyman as “a big family man - he lived for his family and they are heartbroken by his loss.”

Fr Ferguson added that Mr McGaughey was a hard-working man.

“I know he went to Mass last Saturday night because he had a few jobs to do on Sunday morning.”