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Crown Court quashes terror charges against dissident Danny McClean slain in feud

Father-of-two was shot multiple times in Belfast ambush


Gunned down: Danny McClean was shot while sitting in a car last week

Gunned down: Danny McClean was shot while sitting in a car last week

Gunned down: Danny McClean was shot while sitting in a car last week

Terror charges against a murdered Belfast man have been formally quashed by the city's Crown Court.

Danny McClean (54) was shot several times while sitting in a parked car on the Cliftonville Road in north Belfast last week.

Two men, aged 46 and 38, arrested by detectives investigating his killing have since been released "unconditionally".

Yesterday, following an application by the prosecution, Judge Donna McColgan QC ruled that the indictment faced by Mr McClean "be endorsed as having no legal effect and the file closed".

Mr McClean, who was originally from Andersonstown in west Belfast but had an address in Hilden Court, Lisburn, was due to go on trial later this year on four terror-related charges.

These included possession of documents and possessing a 9mm pistol magazine under suspicious circumstances and without a firearms certificate.

The father-of-two, targeted by a lone gunman, was identified as a dissident republican in the Belfast court in 2019, when he was sentenced for two years for the assault and interrogation of a suspected drug dealer which was secretly taped by MI5.

In one of the tapes from the MI5 sting operation against Oglaigh na hEireann, Mr McClean was heard threatening to blow a man's legs "clean off" with a shotgun and saying that he "wouldn't think twice about putting him in a body bag".

Although charged with membership of the IRA, the charge was left on the books and not proceeded with after his guilty pleas to the assault charges.

Mr McClean's murder has been linked to a fall-out among dissident republicans, a feud which also claimed the life of Kieran Wylie, who was shot dead in his Lenadoon Avenue home in May last year.

Like Mr Wylie, threatening graffiti was daubed on walls in west Belfast about Mr McClean, who it emerged during his 2019 trial had served in the British Army during the 1990s.

Last week a senior detective appealed for anyone with information to come forward to help the PSNI investigation.

Superintendent Jason Murphy said police would work tirelessly to seek justice for his "callous" murder and to find answers to his family's many questions.

"This was a brutal and calculated murder carried out by someone who has no regard for life. There can be no justification for it whatsoever," he added.

"It was carried out in a built-up residential area, putting families living there at risk.

"It is extremely fortunate that no one else was injured as a result of this shooting."

Meanwhile, police investigating the murder of Mr McClean arrested a 32-year-old man last night.

The man was arrested in the Belfast area and was taken to Musgrave Police Station for questioning, police said.

It was the third arrest in relation to the murder.

Two men aged 46 and 38, arrested in north Belfast on February 2, were released unconditionally on Monday.

It comes after police returned to the murder scene of Mr McClean on Tuesday night.

Police now believe the gunman made off in a silver coloured Vauxhall Vectra in the direction of the Old Park Road.

They previously said the gunman walked back towards Clifton Crescent after the shooting.

Belfast Telegraph

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