A MURDER hunt has been launched after a pensioner was fatally attacked while having a drink at his local pub.
Alistair Balfour, 68, is believed to have been set upon after intervening in a row between a male customer and bar staff.
The television repairman, of East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, was rushed to Hairmyres Hospital following the incident at the Montgomerie Arms in the town on Sunday evening but died a short time later.
It is believed he was punched and suffered fatal head injuries after falling from a stool on to a stone floor in the attack.
It is thought the attacker was acting aggressively towards staff and Mr Balfour had attempted to defuse the situation.
Police yesterday launched a murder hunt for the suspect who fled the pub on foot following the altercation around 5:45pm on Sunday.
Officers are studying CCTV footage from the scene and have appealed for people who were in the bar at the time to come forward. Yesterday the pub remained closed and two police officers stood guard outside.
The pensioner was a well-known figure in the town where he had ran a television and radio repair business for several years.
Friends went online yesterday to pay tribute to him.
Elizabeth Denholm said: “This is heartbreaking. He was a true gentleman, a lovely man. I was lucky to call him a friend. God bless you Alistair. I’ll miss you.”
Donna Stevenson said: “Sleep tight Alistair – such a lovely man. Was a pleasure to have known you. Thinking of the Balfour family at this difficult time.”
Local resident Michelle Mc-Call added: “I drove past and wondered what was going on. It’s scary to think that a man just out having a pint could have this happen to them, frightening.”
At the home Mr Balfour shared with his wife Ann, 65, a family member refused to comment.
Detective Inspector Mark Henderson, of Police Scotland’s major investigation team west, said: “Our investigation is continuing and we a following a number of lines of inquiry in relation to this death.
“A post mortem examination will take place to establish the exact cause of death, however we are treating the death as murder.
“At this time we are trying to establish the circumstances leading up to this incident and the motive for this murder. Officers from the inquiry team remain in the area carrying out their inquiries. CCTV footage from the pub is also being studied.
“I would urge anyone who was in the Montgomerie Arms at the time of the incident who hasn’t yet spoken to police to contact the inquiry team as a matter of urgency as they may have details that are crucial to this investigation.”