A BROTHER of a man stabbed to death in Derry has warned of the dangers of “party houses” as police continue with its murder investigation.
Karol Kelly was stabbed a number of times during an altercation in the city’s Rosemount area early yesterday.
The 35-year-old father of five later died from his injuries.
Police said a number of men were involved in an incident at Grafton Street at around 2.40 am. Three arrests were made.
It is understood the altercation started in a house and spilled out onto the street.
Medics valiantly tried to save Mr Kelly but he died in an ambulance at the scene.
Residents reported hearing screams and shouts in the early hours, with one woman saying she looked out a window to see people running up and down the street.
Mr Kelly’s body remained at the scene throughout yesterday morning as police forensic officers carried out a detailed search.
The ambulance was also cordoned off as part of the crime scene.
Throughout the day officers carried out door-to-door inquiries and could be seen searching drains and gardens in Grafton Street.
Detective Chief Inspector Alan Dickson said three men, aged 19, 20 and 27, were arrested for questioning.
The 27-year-old man has since been released on police bail.
Said DCI Dickson: “We are working to establish the circumstances of this incident and determine the precise sequence of events that culminated in the tragic death of this man,” he said.
“I would appeal to anyone who was in the Grafton Street or Park Avenue areas of Derry this morning between 2.30am and 3am to please get in touch.”
From the Beechwood Avenue area of Derry, Mr Kelly’s family are well known in the city where his father was involved in the motor trade for many years.
The victim’s sister, Emma Louise, heard about the fatal attack while on holiday in Vietnam and was making her way home last night.
In a Facebook post, his older sister Francesca said: “Taken from us all way too soon.”
His younger brother Paul wrote on Facebook about how their relationship had grown distant over recent months but “at the end of the day is Karol was my brother, and the godfather to my only son… and blood is thicker than water”.
“At this sad time, myself and my family take great comfort in knowing that he is at peace with himself now and in a far happier place… even given the nature of his death.”
He also said he hoped “the one light I can shed on it is that those who use party houses every weekend, mixing alcohol and drugs, realise just the dangers and risks they place on their lives and how volatile and dangerous these party houses can become very quickly”.
“How often do we hear the stories of violent attacks stemming every weekend when people don’t realise their actions or the consequences of them.
“In this case it was the worst scenario but justice will be served to the scumbags one way or another.
“For now, RIP ‘Big Bruv’ and sleep tight… your demons have now left you to peace.”
The area in which Mr Kelly died was once a strong residential community. However, in recent years, it had become Derry’s main flat and apartment area with many of the terraced houses rented out to students attending the nearby Magee campus of Ulster University.
SDLP assembly member Mark H Durkan, who knew Mr Kelly, said he died in “the most shocking of circumstances”.
“My thoughts and the thoughts of my colleagues are with the man’s family and friends at this incredibly difficult time,” he said.
“I know the victim and his family and I have no doubt that the local community will rally around them and offer any support they can in the days and weeks ahead.”
Foyle MP Elisha McCallion also said Mr Kelly’s murder had left the community in a state of shock.
“My thoughts are with the family and friends of this man and I want to express my condolences to them at this sad time.
“The PSNI has now launched a murder inquiry and I would encourage anyone with information that can help that investigation to get in contact with the police.”