Norman Moffatt murder - tenth anniversary
25 Jan 2011
Detectives investigating the murder of Coleraine pensioner Norman Moffatt in 2001 are making a renewed appeal for information on the 10th anniversary of the stabbing.
Mr Moffatt, who was 73, was walking home after buying a paper in a local shop on the morning of 26 January 2001 when he was stabbed by a man in the area between Railway Road and Circular Road around 7am. He was taken to hospital but died almost two months later on 19 March.
The officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Gary Crawford, from the PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch, said police had previously considered a possible motive that Mr Moffett had been mistaken for a local paedophile. He said that while this was still a possibility, it was also possible that it was a completely random attack.
DCI Crawford said: “We have reviewed the material in the case and I cannot discount the possibility that Norman Moffatt was stabbed for absolutely no reason other than he was a convenient victim for a ruthless killer who is still at large. It is possible that the killer had a row with a friend or family member in a domestic setting, then left the house and attacked the first person with whom he came into contact.”
DCI Crawford said police enquiries were continuing but for real progress to be made, police needed more help from the community in Coleraine to get justice for Mr Moffatt’s family.
He said: “The Moffatt family have endured immeasurable suffering over the past decade. They are ordinary, decent people who saw their father and husband stabbed in the street for no reason. Norman was a defenceless, harmless, innocent old man who went out one morning to buy his paper and ended up being randomly, brutally and fatally stabbed.
“The Moffatt family have suffered terribly but there is also a stain on the entire local community – a stain on its character which will remain until Norman’s killer is caught. The key to this case lies with local people. There are individuals in Coleraine who know who did this or could help police by providing information about the events of that day.
“I am appealing to them on behalf of Norman’s devastated family to do the right thing and tell us what you know. The Moffatt family have suffered long enough. It is time to close this tragic case by bringing the killer to justice so I am appealing to those with knowledge of who was responsible to do the right thing and talk to police by calling detectives on 028 90 700 727.”
So far in the police investigation a total of 392 statements have been taken and 183 house-to-house enquiries conducted. A number of area searches were carried out and four suspects were arrested. One individual was charged with Norman’s murder but the charge was later withdrawn. Police have made a number of appeals for information about the murder, including one on Crimewatch UK.
Police are repeating two specific appeals. They want to speak to two men who were seen arguing with each other a short time after the stabbing in the area between Circular Road and Railway Road. They also want to talk to a woman who walked past these two men. She was walking up Circular Road towards the Railway Road on the left hand side of the road. She was wearing a speckled woollen hat which was brown and white in colour, a three quarter length duffle type coat and she had long brown hair and was wearing black trousers.
Mr Moffatt’s daughter, Norma, said: “It’s been a long 10 years. Events have taken their toll on our family and in particular my mother, whose health has suffered. This has devastated the whole family. My brother Barry now has a son and he's the grandson that Dad never knew. It never leaves you. I can still hear Dad's voice that morning when he came back to the house after being stabbed.
“If anybody knows anything at all, please come forward. Someone has this on their conscience. Dad was such a quiet man. Everybody has a good word for him. We have been robbed of a husband and a father.”