Belfast Telegraph

Jim Donegan 'murdered by INLA' - new footage of gunman near Belfast school days before shooting

  • New footage reveals gunman waited for Jim Donegan outside school days before he was murdered
  • PSNI believe INLA carried out the "chilling" murder
Mark Edwards

By Mark Edwards

The PSNI believe the INLA was behind the murder of Jim Donegan who was shot dead in front of hundreds of schoolchildren outside a west Belfast school last year.

Detectives have also released new dashcam footage that shows what is believed to be the same man waiting with schoolchildren for Mr Donegan days before the murder. On that day, Mr Donegan did not go to the school.

Mr Donegan was shot dead on December 4 last year as he sat in his luxury sports car outside St Mary's Grammar School and Christian Brothers School on the Glen Road. He had been waiting to pick up his 13-year-old son, who missed his father's murder by seconds.

Detective Chief Inspector Pete Montgomery, appearing on the BBC's Crimewatch programme, revealed new dashcam footage shows the killer waiting outside the school on November 29.

"I believe this is the same person who murdered Jim," he said.

"You will see here that he waits for 20 minutes amongst the school children waiting for Jim to arrive to pick up his son. I believe if Jim had of arrived there to pick up his son that day he would have been murdered."

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EvoFit image of the man suspected of murdering Jim Donegan

Mr Donegan was shot eight times, including in the head, just seconds before his son arrived on the scene. The murder took place at around 3.10pm as hundreds of school children were leaving school.

DCI Montgomery told Crimewatch that he believed the murder was carried out by republican paramilitaries, specifically the INLA.

Jason Murphy, detective superintendent, head of PSNI's major investigation team, speaking at a press conference after the Crimewatch appeal, said: "The cold-blooded execution was carried out by a lone gunman in front of hundreds of innocent schoolchildren. We believe that gunman has links to a terrorist organisation, and that organisation is the INLA.

"Today we are making a new appeal for information in relation to Jim's murder. We are releasing new CCTV footage. We believe the gunman tried to murder Jim the previous Thursday the 29th November.

"The new CCTV footage shows the gunman five days before Jim's death, waiting for him to arrive to collect his 13-year-old son.

"Hundreds of innocent children were nearby as the gunman laid coldly in wait for Jim to arrive. The gunman waited amongst those children, waiting for Jim. I am certain that if Jim had arrived on that day he would have been murdered."

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CCTV of the red Porsche outside St Mary’s Grammar School (PSNI/PA)

Mr Murphy said the "callous, dangerous and determined gunman" must be taken off the streets and appealed to the public to help them identify him.

Laura Donegan touches the coffin of her husband Jim Donegan
Laura Donegan touches the coffin of her husband Jim Donegan
Mourners follow the funeral cortege on the Falls Road
Mourners follow the funeral cortege on the Falls Road
Mourners follow the funeral cortege on the Falls Road
Jim Donegan's funeral in west Belfast.
Funeral for Jim Donegan at St John the Evangelist on the Falls Road, Belfast

He said that a main line of inquiry is that the INLA was involved in the murder.

"Once again, those linked to terrorist organisations have brought misery to a community," he said.

"These same groups seek legitimacy for their actions from those communities. But the community from this area in west Belfast were rightly horrified and rightly condemn the actions of those involved."

The gunman is described as being in his late 30s or early 40s. Around 5ft 8 tall and walked with a limp.

He was carrying a dark coloured bag that police believe contained the gun used in the murder. He was wearing a high-vis jacket with security written on the back.

Detectives are seeking information on whether the gunman went into a house after the murder or got into a car.

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Police at the scene where Jim Donegan was shot dead on the Glen Road in West Belfast in December.

Mr Murphy would not speculate on the motive for the murder but revealed the gun used was a semi-automatic handgun. He would not confirm if the gun had been used before.

The senior officer said the dash cam footage released was handed in by a member of the public and that the response to appeal for information had been positive.

Mr Murphy said the murder will have "catastrophic psychological affects" on the young people who witnessed the brutal killing.

Mr Donegan, known as JD, lived in Lisburn with his family.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the police on 101.

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