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'I knew immediately what it was, I just thought: oh no, not again'

By Allan Preston

Published 09/08/2016

Friends and neighbours of murdered UDA man John Boreland have been left shaken by his killing on Sunday night.

One pensioner spoke of her shock at hearing shotgun blasts just metres from her home, while another neighbour said he couldn't believe his friend was dead. On Monday morning a police cordon remained in place around Sunningdale Gardens, part of the Ballysillan neighbourhood in north Belfast.

Police have confirmed Mr Boreland (46) was shot outside his house as he was getting out of his car.

It's understood his body lay covered at the scene until the early afternoon, while police conducted their investigations. At around 1pm, a line of forensic investigators dressed in white overalls performed a search of the residential area. Mr Boreland's car was later taken away in the back of a white truck for forensic examination.

Vera Jameson (75) was at home alone, watching television on Sunday night, when she heard shotgun blasts just before 10pm.

"I just heard the two shots - the back of my house isn't very far from where they were fired," she told the Belfast Telegraph.

"I just thought, 'Oh my God here we go,' then my phone started ringing, (the caller asked) 'Granny are you all right'?"

"I knew immediately what it was, it was all too quick. I just thought, 'Oh no, not again', we've already lived through the Troubles. It's not pleasant to hear gunfire so close to your house. I'm quite disabled and my husband's in a care home."

A neighbour and friend of John Boreland commented: "I just heard last night that Bonzer was shot dead; he was always a nice fella. I would have known him from drinking in the bar and he definitely didn't deserve that. It's just a shock.

"He was dead-on. I didn't know anything about the feud."

Husband and wife, Raymond and Kathleen Miller, both aged 78, have lived in the area for 50 years. "I knew his father, Billy," said Mr Miller.

"It was a shock. Our son was home at the time but didn't hear a thing.

"Police said there were criminal elements and I just hope there's not retaliation. I'm just sorry for the family - nobody wants this," he commented.

Mrs Miller added: "I was very shocked. It's always been very quiet round here, with lots of children playing."

Another neighbour walking his dog past the scene yesterday morning said residents in the area were horrified at the killing, and the street was "eerily quiet" now. "I think anyone being shot is wrong," he said.

"Whether it's a feud or not, he leaves a family behind him and it's sad to see it happening in the area.

"This is the first time I've heard of anyone here being shot and murdered. I don't know what he was at, but there's bound to have been other ways of punishing the man."

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