Police release photo of Portrush murder victim who died in "exchange of blows"

Police have released a photo of murder victim Paul Rowlands who died after an assault in Portrush.

Detectives believe the 46 year old was drinking with his attacker in the hours before his death.

The father of five and grandfather from the Cambridge area had been staying in the seaside town.

A 39 year old man has been arrested over the murder and is being questioned by police.

Police also confirmed that Mr Rowlands family had been informed of his death, with DCI Neil McGuinness describing them as "devastated."

"I'm appealing for anyone who was in the Bath Terrace who witnessed any argument or disagreement or anything that may be relevant to come forward and speak to police on the 101 system or if need be to the Crimestoppers charity," DCI McGuinness added.

  • WATCH: DCI McGuinness appeals for witnesses to come forwards:

"We believe Paul was in the area over the past few weeks and would have stayed in or around the seafront.

"Anyone who is aware of his movements in the weeks leading up to his death, we would like to hear from.

"I believe Paul was in the company of another male and there was some sort of verbal disagreement which was overheard by some people we have already spoken to and there was an exchange of blows and Paul has died on the ground," DCI McGuinness said.

  • WATCH: The PSNI's Detective Chief Inspector Neil McGuinness gives an update from the murder scene in Portrush:

"We believe that Paul and another male were drinking in the area of Bath Terrace on the benches," he said.

"Subsequently there was an argument and an assault took place at around midnight," DCI McGuiness said, describing the assault as an "exchange of blows."

"Paul was then found by a member of the public in Bath Terrace at around twenty past two in the morning.

"An ambulance attended and Paul was sadly pronounced dead at the scene."

SDLP MLA Cara Hunter said the local community has been devastated.

"People are devastated. We welcome thousands of tourists here every single year, we're very family friendly, so to hear that something like this has happened right on our doorstep, people are really shocked," she said.

"I'm hoping that anybody who heard or saw anything late on Sunday into the early hours of Monday will please come forward and share it with police.

"It's so crucial and so important to play a positive role to tell the truth and come forward if they saw or witnessed anything - even the smallest thing could be the piece of the puzzle that we need."

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