DETECTIVES from the PSNI’s Major Investigation Team have started a murder inquiry after a 28-year-old man died following a serious assault early yesterday morning.
He has been named by police as as James McDonagh from Castledawson.
During the serious assault, Mr McDonagh sustained a serious head injury.
Tragically, he died today in hospital despite the valiant efforts of surgeons and medical staff to save him.
The attack took place outside The Elk Inn bar and restaurant complex on the Hillhead Road in Toomebridge at around 2 am on Sunday morning.
The victim was first taken to Antrim Area Hospital but was later transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital to be treated by specialists in serious head injury.
The three men – aged 52, 24 and 20 – were being questioned at the PACE custody suite at Musgrave PSNI Station in Belfast on suspicion of attempted murder.
Now, as a result of the man’s death from his injuries, they are being quizzed about his murder.
The officer leading the murder investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Eamonn Corrigan, said: “It was reported that at around 2am on Sunday morning an altercation took place outside the Elk Inn.
“I am appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident or anyone with any information that can assist with the investigation to contact the incident room at Magherafelt on the non-emergency number 101.
“Alternatively, anyone who does not wish to provide their personal details can call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
During Sunday, there were long tailbacks on the Hillhead Road while an investigation of the scene was carried out.
One lane of the Hillhead Road remains closed this morning as inquiries continue.
Sinn Féin MLA Ian Milne has said the death of a man following an assault in Toome is a tragedy for his family and friends.
Mr Milne said: “The death of this man following an assault in Toome in the early hours of Sunday morning is an absolute tragedy.
“It has caused widespread shock in the local area.
“My thoughts and sympathies are with the man’s friends and family at this sad time.
“I would appeal for anyone with any information on this incident to bring it forward to the PSNI immediately.”Tags: