Two held over murder of NI-born soldier in Welsh bar attack

Private Matthew Boyd was in Brecon for a training course
Private Matthew Boyd was in Brecon for a training course

A Northern Ireland-born soldier found dead in Wales at the weekend is believed to have been attacked outside a bar.

Matthew Boyd of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, who is understood to have spent his early years in Carrickfergus, was in Brecon, Powys, for a training course.

The 23-year-old was found injured and unconscious at Lion Street in the town around 1am on Sunday, police said.

He was only 400 yards from his base at Watton Barracks. He was taken to hospital but died a short time later.

A 23-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder and Dyfed-Powys Police said on Monday that a second man has also been detained.

A spokesman said: “Detectives investigating the murder of a serving member of the Armed Forces in Brecon confirm that they have arrested a further male, aged 22 years, in connection with this offence.

“The first male, aged 23 years, remains in police custody.”

Part of Brecon town centre was cordoned off on Sunday as police investigated the killing.

Officers are appealing for anyone who was in the Lion Street, Bethel Square, Tredegar Street and High Street areas between 12.30am and 1.30am to contact them on 101.

Inspector Jacqui Lovatt said police did not believe there was any terrorist link to the murder.

“We would very much like to thank the military personnel and local community for all their continued support during this investigation and what is a truly tragic circumstance.

“There is nothing to suggest that Matthew Boyd being a soldier was a motivation for this assault, nor is there anything to indicate any links to terrorism.

“Our deepest thoughts go out to Matthew’s family, friends and regiment.”

Insp Lovatt added: “The military are very much a part of the Brecon community and we will continue working together to maintain this.”

DUP MLA David Hilditch knows Mr Boyd’s grandfather who had worked for Carrickfergus Council.

Mr Hilditch said there was a sense of shock in the town at the news.

“It is a broken family today. I can say nothing but good about the Boyd family. This has just come as a great shock to everybody,” he said.

Mr Hilditch added: “They have everybody’s sympathy and our hearts go out to them – particularly in the circumstances where another young person has lost their life.”

In an emotional Facebook post the dead man’s brother back in Gibraltar, Darren Boyd, said: “Broke my heart when I woke up and heard you where gone, but I know you will never be gone for me you will always be in my heart.

“We had good and bad days, I bet you won’t believe me when I say I haven’t eaten or slept since I heard matt I just want you here with me.

“Always in my heart I will make my big brother proud!!”

His aunt in Carrickfergus, Elaine Mawhirk, posted the message: “Stay strong Darren we need to be strong for each other.

“Matthew Ian Boyd had an amazing young life in such a short time. he is with us all and always will be xx”