Belfast Telegraph

Six key leads in taxi driver murder

Police are following six key leads into the murder of a Co Tyrone taxi driver more than 10 years ago, a coroner's court has heard.

Brian Henry McDonald from Windmill Hill Road, Dungannon, was gunned down as he arrived to collect a bogus fare at a Donaghmore snooker club in April 2002.

The 51-year-old Catholic father-of-eight, known to family and friends as Barney, was hit four times with a shotgun and died at the scene.

Requesting a six month adjournment for an inquest, a senior Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) detective said a significant number of lines of inquiry were being investigated.

Detective Constable Stephen Johnston told the preliminary hearing at Mays Chambers in Belfast: "We have constantly reviewed the case and there are significant lines of inquiries.

"There are six key areas.

"Some of these recommendations are of a protracted nature and we would ask for a further six months to complete the inquiries."

No-one has been convicted in connection with Mr McDonald's murder.

At the time, it was alleged that the Provisional IRA was responsible for the killing but this was denied by republicans.

There were also claims the Red Hand Defenders, a loyalist paramilitary cover name, were responsible for the shooting.

Solicitor Martin Donaghy, representing the victim's family, said they were anxious that the killing be fully investigated.

He told the court: "The family would be very keen that all proper lines of inquiry would be pursued.

"The family appreciate the sensitive nature of some of these lines of inquiry.

"Obviously, given the passage of time, they would be keen that these inquiries are completed."

Adjourning the case for six months, Coroner Suzanne Anderson said: "I am anxious to ensure that matters are progressed.

"It has been a considerable time since Mr McDonald's death."

The case will be reviewed again next March.

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