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Villiers brands brutal Belfast killing of young dad Michael McGibbon 'a callous act'

By Adrian Rutherford

Published 18/04/2016

Joanne McGibbon, whose mother Margaret was cared for by hospice nurses before she died earlier this year, pictured at home in north Belfast. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Joanne McGibbon, whose mother Margaret was cared for by hospice nurses before she died earlier this year, pictured at home in north Belfast. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Michael McGibbon and wife Joanne McGibbon
Police officers back in the Ardoyne estate carrying out door to door enquiries following the murder of Michael McGibbon on April 17, 2016 Belfast, Northern Ireland. Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Man was shot three times in the leg in an alleyway at Butler Place close to Elmfield Street, near the Crumlin Road at about 22:05 on Friday. Photo: Aidan OReilly/Pacemaker
Emergency services at the scene of a shooting in the Elmfield Street area on April 15, 2016 Belfast, Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Emergency services at the scene of a shooting in the Elmfield Street area on April 15, 2016 Belfast, Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Emergency services at the scene of a shooting in the Elmfield Street area on April 15, 2016 Belfast, Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Emergency services at the scene of a shooting in the Elmfield Street area on April 15, 2016 Belfast, Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Joanne McGibbon
A forensic officer at scene of killing
The couple together

The Secretary of State has condemned the murder of Michael McGibbon.

Theresa Villiers described it as a "callous" act.

Adding to the condemnation of many politicians, she also hit out at the paramilitary violence scarring society.

"This callous and shocking murder appears to have the hallmarks of the paramilitary-style assaults which too often ruin lives and scar Northern Ireland," she said.

"My sympathy is with Mr McGibbon's young family. The PSNI investigation will now take its course and I urge anyone with information to come forward to bring those responsible to justice."

The DUP's Nelson McCausland described the killing as "intolerable".

The North Belfast Assembly candidate said it was "imperative that the people responsible are brought before the courts and dealt with".

He said the guns used in such crimes must be taken off the streets.

"People want to move on, this is simply dragging people back to the past," Mr McCausland said.

The shooting of Mr McGibbon in Butler Place in north Belfast on Friday night came just three months after the killing of a 31-year-old man a few streets away. Father-of-two Conor McKee was found murdered in a bedroom of his Glenpark Street home in January.

Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly, who sits on the Policing Board, said criminal elements were "at war" with the community.

"This is the second such killing carried out in this area in the last six months by an armed gang which is clearly at war with the local community," he said.

Mr Kelly said there could be "no place for such actions" in society.

"Those who carried out this terrible act do not represent the local community in north Belfast," he added.

"They need to realise that they have no support and get off the backs of the community.

"The community demands that they call a halt to these actions immediately."

SDLP councillor Nichola Mallon said the murder had left the area in shock.

"The community is reeling and has been left shocked and horrified by this brutal murder," she said.

"North Belfast has shouldered this kind of savagery in the past.

"There can be no justification for it. It was wrong then and it is wrong today."

Alliance councillor Nuala McAllister said she "utterly condemned" the killing. She urged people to reject the "thugs" who brought terror to the streets.

"There can never be any excuse for carrying out such a heinous act and I utterly condemn the thugs behind it," she said.

"Thanks to them, there is now a man lying dead and a family plunged into mourning.

"Violent attacks and murder have no place in our society.

"This was a brutal crime and those behind it need taken off our streets.

"Our entire community must unite against those who seek to drag us back to the bloody days of the past."

Belfast Telegraph

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