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Savage killers shame our society

Editor's Viewpoint

Published 18/04/2016

Michael McGibbon and wife Joanne
Michael McGibbon and wife Joanne

The story of Michael McGibbon's death at the weekend is sickening and horrifying. While picking up his children from school, he was given the grotesque choice of attending a "punishment" shooting that night or to be exiled permanently from Northern Ireland.

His wife Joanne said that he put on a brave face as he went to be shot. She listened for gunshots but heard nothing. The tension was so unbearable that she asked a friend to babysit her children and went in search of her husband.

As a nurse she is accustomed to injuries, but she was traumatised to see her husband badly wounded in an alleyway, where he bled to death in her arms.

He had been shot three times because of an unfounded year-old allegation that he had made an inappropriate comment to the girlfriend of a dissident republican.

There is also a suggestion that he was punished more severely because he and his wife had reported an earlier incident to the police. On Thursday two 'New IRA' members had called to the house to shoot Michael in the legs.

What does this savage gangsterism say about Northern Ireland in 2016?

Such behaviour has no place in our society, but after all the years of the Troubles have we become inured to the suffering of what we quaintly call "punishment" attacks?

Here we are dealing with murder, but where are the protest vigils? Many of the politicians are vying for your vote, but are their condemnations of this atrocity strong enough for you?

In any other UK city the targeting of a defenceless man in an alleyway "punishment" shooting would be a major story.

Over here it is usually a small news item, except when it becomes murder and makes bigger headlines.

Michael McGibbon was a father and the husband of his brave wife Joanne, who was featured in this newspaper months ago when she raised awareness for the NI Hospice, which had helped her mother Margaret.

She is a woman to be respected and valued, but now, tragically, she is a widow burying her slain husband.

What are we coming to? This appalling behaviour has no place in our society. No community should be threatened by the terror and rough justice of kangaroo courts. Anyone with information should tell the police. These thugs must be brought to justice.

Belfast Telegraph

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