Belfast Telegraph

Man questioned over loyalist killing of Paul McNally on Crumlin Road in 1976

BY CHRIS KILPATRICK

A man arrested by police in London about the random sectarian murder of a young father-of-two in Northern Ireland 37 years ago has been released.

Paul McNally (26) and another man were leaving Sean Graham's bookmakers on the Crumlin Road in Belfast when they were shot by two gunmen.

As the gunmen fled the scene, a short distance from Mr McNally's Ardoyne home, a passing Army patrol opened fire on them. They made their escape in a yellow Ford Cortina which was later abandoned on the Shankill Road.

Mr McNally, a Catholic, died in hospital two days later. The other man survived.

Police yesterday arrested a 60-year-old man in east London following fresh information on the murder carried out on June 5, 1976.

He was questioned by detectives from the PSNI's Serious Crime Branch as well as members of the Metropolitan Police before being released unconditionally last night.

Police said the investigation into the murder was reopened following new information.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack and to date nobody has been convicted in relation to the murder.

Mr McNally, a plumber, was married to Hazel and the couple had a five-month-old son, Damien, and a four-year-old daughter, Karen.

Close family friend Margaret Mervyn, from north Belfast, said the shooting tore the McNally family apart.

"Paul was like a little brother to me, I remember his wedding day fondly, he was such a good man," she said this year.

"His parents were just destroyed when he was murdered and his wee family torn apart."

Mr McNally's son Damien now works for the Wave Trauma Centre which supports people bereaved and traumatised by the Troubles.

He did not wish to comment yesterday, but has previously expressed dissatisfaction with the initial investigation.

Last February, a 55-year-old man was arrested in connection with the attack.

He was subsequently released and a file on the case sent by police to the Public Prosecution Service.

At the time of that arrest, Detective Chief Inspector Justyn Galloway said he believed there were people in Ardoyne who could assist the police investigation.

Anyone with information can contact police on 9180 1507 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

BACKGROUND

Paul McNally (26) was shot dead by loyalists as he left a bookmaker's shop on Belfast's Crumlin Road in June 1976. It is believed two gunmen opened fire on a group of men who were leaving the bookmakers. Mr McNally (right) and another man sustained serious injuries. Mr McNally died two days later in hospital. He was married and had a four-year-old daughter and a five-month-old son.

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