A murder investigation has been launched after a Banbridge father-of-two died in hospital weeks after a serious assault in Belfast.
Colin Prime died in hospital on Monday, where he had been in a critical condition following the incident in Belfast’s Malone Road in the early hours of Sunday, January 29.
The 41-year-old, who was a serving police officer but was off duty at the time, was waiting for a lift in the car park beside licensed premises, between 3-3.30am, when the attack occurred.
Three men were arrested in connection with the assault and remain on bail.
Detective Inspector Michelle Griffin said: “My thoughts, and deepest sympathies, are first and foremost with Colin’s family who have been left bereft. Friends and colleagues are deeply saddened by Colin’s death.
“The assault occurred between 3.00am and 3.30am on Sunday, January 29th when Colin was waiting for a lift in the car park beside licensed premises.
“It has been reported that three men approached Colin and his friend before an altercation occurred which spilled out onto the Malone Road, at the junction of Eglantine Avenue.
“I can confirm that Colin’s occupation as a police officer had no bearing on the attack.”
“We know this area would have been relatively busy with vehicles at the time, particularly taxi drivers, and would appeal to anyone who may have been in the vicinity to check their dashcam for relevant footage.”
Tributes have been paid to Mr Prime who was the much loved and devoted daddy of Kobi and Odin, husband of Louise, cherished son of Jim and Carol, dearest brother of Rory and his wife Linn and uncle of Emily and Maya.
One friend described Mr Prime as “a larger than life character who always met you with a disarming smile and a look of mischief and fun in his eyes”.
Adding: “For all his love of a good party, which he would usually be the life and soul of, his overriding feature was his kindness. He would always help and encourage the underdog. Thanks for the great times and the memories big man! Rest in peace Colly!”
Banbridge RFC commented: “The President and members of Banbridge Rugby Club have been greatly saddened by the news of the passing of former player Colin Prime in tragic circumstances. Deepest condolences are extended to Colin’s parents, Jim and Carol, and to the wider family circle.”
Funeral arrangements have not been announced. The family have requested no flowers and that donations, if desired, be made for Future Proof (Youth Engagement Service, Banbridge).