Murdered Marcus Gibbings may have been the subject of a revenge attack, police said yesterday.

Investigators believe the 32-year-old Trinidadian may have been in a fight with his attacker a few weeks before his death, and that this provided the motive for the fatal stabbing in his home on October 25.

He was last seen alive at about 8pm on the night of his death.

"Police are satisfied that nothing was stolen from the residence or from Mr. Gibbings in this attack," said acting Detective Inspector Robert Cardwell in ruling out robbery and burglary as motives, "and that the scene and other information collected in the course of the investigation suggest [he] was the target of his assailant."

He said the information about the fight was 'raw', meaning, he explained, that it was all the information from that lead so far.

"Information has been received," he said, "that alleges Mr. Gibbings was involved in an altercation of some kind with an unknown person or persons, somewhere in the City of Hamilton, in the weeks leading up to his death."

He revealed that at least one person is thought to have witnessed the confrontation but he couldn't say where exactly it happened.

Detectives are now appealing to anyone who saw that incident to contact the Serious Crime Unit.

To date, Mr. Cardwell said, police have recorded 143 statements and have arrested two people, both of whom are on bail.

The latest arrest, it emerged, came last Friday when a 59-year-old man was detained for allegedly obstructing the investigation.

The officer declined to comment on reports that the man is a former policeman.

Forensic results haven't come back yet, he said, although the American experts who collected samples have left Bermuda.

Asked if he considered the pace of the investigation to be slow, Mr. Cardwell disagreed: "No, the investigation progresses daily."

Nor would he say if there was a prime suspect: "The investigation continues to examine all lines of enquiry."

Meanwhile, the police continue to appeal for witnesses generally, particularly anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area of Derwent Lane, Roberts Avenue or The Glebe Road in Devonshire and anyone who associated or socialized with Mr. Gibbings other than in the 'normal course of business'.

Witnesses should call the SCU at 299-4315 or the confidential Crime Stoppers number at 1-800-623-8477.