Northern Ireland

Conan Anderson: Head injury death being treated as murder

Conan Anderson Image copyright Anderson family
Image caption Conan Anderson died on Saturday afternoon

The death of a man who sustained a head injury during a night out in Belfast is now being treated as murder, police have said.

22-year-old Conan Anderson, from the Short Strand area of Belfast, was hurt on Arthur Lane in the early hours of Monday 6 February.

He was admitted to hospital later that day.

A 27-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm, but has been released on police bail.

Image caption The death is now being treated as a murder

Mr Anderson's brother, Brendan, said it was an extremely hard time for the family and described the past two weeks as "pure and utter hell".

"He was an innocent thing, big and tall, but like a teddy bear," he said.

"He was a coach in the under-sixes football team.

Image caption Police have said an incident occurred on Arthur Lane in Belfast's city centre

"He just loved it, that's what he lived for."

Det Ch Insp Peter Montgomery said: "I am now treating Conan's death as murder and I am appealing for anyone with any information about the incident at Arthur Lane in the early hours of Monday 6th February or any information which could be of assistance to my investigation to contact detectives at Musgrave Street quoting reference number 1034 08/02/17."

Mr Anderson explained the events leading up to his brother's death to the BBC News NI's Sunday News programme.

"On the Monday morning I went upstairs and saw Conan lying on the ground in his room, I thought he was drunk and he was snoring away so I left him there.

"But that night at about half past seven my mum called me and said he was acting very, very strangely.

'Very confused'

"I went over and straight away realised we had to ring an ambulance.

Image copyright Anderson family
Image caption Conan Anderson was a coach in an under-sixes football team

"He had a mark on his jaw like he had been punched and was very confused.

"He kept lying down and standing up and trying to clap his hands, but he couldn't say a word

"It was very frightening.

"When we got him to the hospital we were told he had horrific brain injuries, he had a fractured skull and was internally bleeding.

"He was in a coma after that and we kept talking into his ears just hoping he would hear us."

Mr Anderson asked anyone who saw anything, or might know what happened to his brother, to come forward.