Kieran McManus murder weapon not 'conclusively' linked to previous shooting
A firearm used in the murder of south Belfast man Stephen Carson in 2016 could not be conclusively linked to the killing of a pizza delivery driver three years earlier, an inquest has heard.
Kieran McManus (26), from west Belfast, was shot outside a Domino's pizza takeaway at the DC Enterprise Centre, Kennedy Way, on March 30, 2013.
He had been hit twice in the back by a masked gunman who, according to witnesses, uttered the words "All right Kieran" before firing the shots and fleeing in a waiting getaway vehicle which was later found burnt out.
The killing of Mr McManus has been linked to a long-running feud which started in 2010 and culminated in the murder of Mr Carson three years ago.
At the second day of the inquest into the father-of-one's death at Belfast's Laganside Courthouse, Coroner Patrick McGurgan heard testimony from a forensic expert consulted by the PSNI as part of the murder investigation.
Jonathan Greer from Forensic Science NI revealed bullet pellet remnants recovered from Mr McManus's body post-mortem had been subsequently compared in firing tests to the firearm used to kill Mr Carson.
Mr Greer explained that due to the "insufficient marks" on the bullet remnants from the deceased, it was not possible, based on forensics, to conclude that the same firearm was used in both murders.
When asked if it was then possible to conclude conclusively that the firearm used in the Carson killing had been different to the one used to murder Mr McManus, the expert said it "was not possible to say".
"The conclusion was that it couldn't be determined either way," he added.
The inquest heard the murder weapon, possibly a double-barrelled sawn-off shotgun, has never been recovered.
CCTV footage showing the last minutes of Mr McManus's life was played during the hearing, which was attended by the murder victim's mother, Sally.
The inquest also heard from a police officer who had been part of the Major Incident Team (MIT) investigating Mr McManus's murder.
Detective Sergeant Paul Darragh said one motive explored was that the killing was linked to a sword attack on west Belfast man Michael Smith, who was convicted of Mr Carson's murder in 2018.
He revealed that Mr McManus had been in the courts for involvement in that incident, adding that police had "received evidence that there had been bad feeling" between Smith and Mr McManus and their respective associates.
The inquest heard on Monday that the Domino's worker had been physically attacked while out celebrating Father's Day in a west Belfast venue in 2012. He had also expressed concern that his life had been threatened in the run up to his killing.
The police officer confirmed a number of suspects - including Smith - had been interviewed but not charged in connection to the investigation, which he stressed remains "live".
Neil Fox, a solicitor representing the McManus family, said they have been left "very upset and frustrated" that no one has been charged with the killing more than six years later.
The coroner heard that the "well-resourced" police team engaged with 200 business premises in a bid to obtain CCTV footage and had also checked 53 static vehicle cameras in efforts to trace the occupants of the getaway car, a stolen, dark Vauxhall Astra.
The inquest continues.