TWO men have been arrested following the discovery of a man’s body just yards from where a pensioner was repeatedly stabbed in his home the previous day.
Named locally as Steven Mitchell, 31, the victim was found dead in a house – believed to belong to one of his friends – at Marmion Road, Bathgate at around 5.40pm yesterday.
The discovery comes less than 48 hours after 65-year-old Harry Reekie was left with life-threatening injuries after being stabbed multiple times at his home in Lothian Street – just 150 yards away.
A major investigation is now underway after police cordoned off the road.
The two 18-year-old men are due to appear at Livingston Sheriff Court tomorrow.
Shocked neighbours said they had been left frightened by the incidents.
Erin Nisbet, 25, a childhood friend of Mr Mitchell, who attended Bathgate Academy, said her daughter had heard screams coming from the house where his body was found.
She said: “Me and Steven grew up together on Belvedere Road, but we grew apart when we starting hanging about with different crowds.
“I still speak to him on the street – the last time I saw him was three days ago.
“I’m not sure who it was who was screaming – it might have been somebody who found him.”
A police spokesman said: “The death is currently being treated as unexplained while police work to establish the circumstances.”
The incident came on the same day police launched an appeal to track down two men wanted in connection with the attempted murder of Mr Reekie in his home.
The pensioner was stabbed repeatedly in his lounge after he woke to find two intruders forcing entry into his home at 3.20am on Tuesday. Despite his injuries, he managed to raise the alarm with neighbours after staggering outside and banging on the door of the flat above his ground-floor property.
It is believed his attackers, who are thought to have made off with several items from the house, escaped on foot.
Officers cordoned off the road and a nearby parkland yesterday as police swept the area for clues.
Mr Reekie, who is believed to have lived alone, remains in a critical condition at the Royal Infirmary. It is understood he moved from England to the house in Lothian Street earlier this year after his brother, Colin, passed away.
Sister-in-law Helen Reekie, from Bathgate, said: “I’m shocked, that’s all I can say. I’m just in shock – it hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m saddened and shocked.”
Police are on the lookout for two white men aged between 20 and 40 years old and around 5ft 10in. One was wearing a blue hoodie and the other a grey hoodie, with both possibly wearing jogging bottoms.
Detective Inspector Martin MacLean from the Major Investigation Team said: “This was a cowardly, brutal attack on a defenceless, elderly man in his own home in the middle of the night. He was stabbed repeatedly and sustained life-threatening injuries. My team and I are keeping an open mind on the motive, and whilst items of property would appear to have been stolen, this is an attempted murder investigation.”
Police yesterday confirmed they had stepped up patrols in the area around the attack.
Both the stabbing and the discovery of Mr Mitchell’s body took place less than 100 yards from where police found the body of Carol Jarvis under the floorboards of her Balbardie Crescent home in 2009.
The 47-year-old mother-of-four was killed by her husband Harry Jarvis.