NEVER GIVE UP HOPE

Barry and Norma Moffatt take a stroll along Circular Road where they lived.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.
Barry and Norma Moffatt take a stroll along Circular Road where they lived.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.
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THE son of a murdered Coleraine pensioner has urged the family of Bertie Acheson to never give up hope that his killer will be caught.

Barry Moffatt’s own family endured 11 years of agony after his father, Norman, 73, was stabbed as he walked home from buying a paper on Railway Road in Coleraine in January 2001. He died two months later.

In an exclusive interview with The Coleraine Times, Barry said that Mr Acheson’s senseless murder had struck a chord with his family because of the seemingly random nature of both crimes.

And he says that he and sister Norma know the tremendous pain the Acheson family are enduring because they went through it themselves.

Last month James Alexander McCook, 42, with an address at Stonemill Terrace, Stockport, was charged with Mr Moffatt’s murder.

And Barry hopes that police will do all they can to apprehend Mr Acheson’s killer for his wife and family’s sake.

“The Achesons actually lived across the road from us at Circular Road ten or fifteen years ago,” Barry revealed.

“My mother and father knew them well so when we heard the name we knew immediately who it was.

“Like what happened to dad, this was such a shock, a bolt out of the blue for the Acheson family, such a random thing to happen.

“It brought back to us the first stages of the police investigation and how we felt then. We can imagine what that family are going through, the pain they are feeling.

“We went through an awful lot of ups and downs over the past eleven years. It never gets easier and even if you want to forget what happened you can’t.

“They cannot give up hope, our thoughts are with them at this very difficult time.”

Bertie Acheson (72) collapsed and died from a heart attack after confronting an intruder in the kitchen of his Glenmore Gardens home at Mountsandel in the early hours of Monday, April 30.

The burglar then snatched a purse containing £375 belonging to Mr Acheson’s wife of 44 years, Sheila (70), who was in the bedroom.

Independent charity Crimestoppers has since put up a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the attacker.

In a heartbreaking interview Mr Acheson’s daughter, Sandra Creelman said: “This has been a nightmare. A total and utter living nightmare. Our lives have just been ruined. It will never be the same again, never. Not for any of us.”

Mrs Creelman added: “Mum will never be in her home again. She is terrified going back. They stripped my mother of everything she held dear and loved her whole life. The person that did this has destroyed everything.”

The suspect is described as being approximately 6ft, was wearing a dark top with a collar and thick cuffs, grey jogging bottoms and a coat covering his waist.

Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through a secure online form atwww.crimestoppers-uk.org