Belfast Telegraph

Greer fails to reduce 20 year sentence for Bangor 'gang-land' murder

Senior judges rejected Peter Greer's claim he was 'less culpable' for a 2011 murder

By Alan Irwin

A man jailed for a gangland-style murder in Co Down failed today in a bid to have his 20-year sentence reduced.

Peter Greer was appealing the term imposed on him for his role in the assassination of Duncan 'Dougie' Morrison and the attempt to kill Stephen Ritchie in May 2011.

But senior judges rejected claims the 41-year-old was less culpable because it could not be proven that he was one of the gunmen.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan said Greer would have been facing an even longer period behind bars had it been established that he pulled the trigger.

"This is an area where the public are entitled to expect substantial deterrent sentences," Sir Declan stressed.

Two masked men armed with a pistol and a shotgun opened fire on the victims after entering a house on Hazelbrook Avenue in Bangor.

Mr Morrison died at the scene while Mr Ritchie was wounded in the attack.

The gunmen were never identified and no definite motive was established.

But in his description of the attack the trial judge said: "If not a gangster killing it was, at the very least, a planned and targeted assassination carried out with ruthless efficiency."

Greer, formerly of Mountcollyer Avenue in Belfast, was convicted of murder, attempted murder and possession of a shotgun and handgun with intent to endanger life on a joint enterprise basis.

His Volkswagen Golf was found to have been the getaway car ultimately used by the killers.

The prosecution further claimed Greer and a second man convicted of the murder and attempted murder, 38-year-old Jamie Smith, were captured on CCTV making a "dry run" the day before the shooting.

They were also said to have travelled in convoy with a stolen Honda Civic found burnt out after the attack.

Greer later handed himself in to police, claiming to have lent his car to someone and denying any involvement in the murder. 

Following a failed attempt to overturn his conviction he returned to the Court of Appeal to challenge the 20-year tariff on his life sentence.

His legal team argued that he should be treated as a secondary party in the assassination plot.

But Sir Declan, sitting with Lord Justices Weatherup and Weir, said Greer had been identified playing an integral role in a professional killing.

Rejecting the appeal against the sentence for murder, he said: "We wish to make it clear that if it had been established that the applicant or his co-accused had been th gunman a further substantial upward adjustment would have been appropriate."

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