Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Bangor murder gun used in two previous killings

Man arrested in early morning police swoop

THE gun used to murder Bangor loyalist Jim Johnston had been used in two previous killings, security sources revealed today.

One man remained in police custody today where he is being questioned about the murder of the paramilitary chief.

He was arrested in the early hours of this morning. It is understood the man in custody is from the north Down area.

The early morning arrest was made just hours after another man arrested for the killing was released from police custody without charge.

As preparations were continuing into the funeral of the loyalist godfather, security sources indicate that Johnston (45), the commander of the north Down Red Hand Commando, was hit over 20 times by his killers at his plush farmhouse on the Ballyrobert Road in Crawfordsburn.

It has also emerged that the gun used in last Friday's killing - which has been used in two previous murders - was dumped in a neighbouring property as the gunmen fled on foot.

During follow-up searches of the area, police discovered one of the gunmen had cut himself climbing over a fence. It is understood a DNA sample was taken at the scene.

In addition, just minutes before Johnston was gunned down, one of his vehicles was discovered on fire in nearby Conlig.

Speculation continued to mount today that his death was revenge for the murder last September of LVF drugs baron Stephen Warnock.

Members of the public who have information on last week's fatal shooting were today urged to contact police in Bangor.

The call was made by councillor Diana Peacocke, who said: "This type of act just cannot be tolerated and I would ask anyone who knows anything on the murder to contact Superintendent Graham Shields from Bangor PSNI and report it to him immediately.

"If those guilty are apprehended, the judicial system should impose the strongest sentences possible."

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