Belfast Telegraph

Leave me alone, says barber in ram-raid after Eamonn Magee Jr murder

By Adrian Rutherford

A Turkish national who owns the business where a man accused of murdering a boxer had helped out has appealed to be left in peace after a ram-raid attack.

Mo's Barber Shop at Mount Eagle Square on the outskirts of west Belfast was extensively damaged early yesterday morning.

It was the second attack on the premises in as many days.

Owner Mehmet Oner said he had also been warned he had 48 hours to leave.

Police are investigating if the incidents are linked to last month's murder of Eamonn Magee junior.

The 22-year-old was the son of former world boxing champion Eamonn Magee. He was stabbed to death last month in the Summerhill Park area of Twinbrook.

A man charged with murdering the young boxer helped out at the barber's. Orhan Koca also worked at a bar targeted in an attempted arson attack on Friday night.

Yesterday evening several hundred people attended a rally in support of Mr Oner. The businessman, who has lived here for four years, said he was heartened by the backing he has received.

"These people are like family to me," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"I'm part of this community and we all want to get on with our lives. I hope this message gets out to the people who are narrow-minded. They need to stop before anyone else gets hurt."

Mr Oner said a car was rammed into his business on Thursday. In a second incident around 3am yesterday, CCTV images show a blue van ploughing through the front of the shop.

Beckett's Bar on the Stewartstown Road was also targeted in an arson attack at around 3am on Saturday. Koca, who denies Mr Magee's murder, is believed to have previously worked as a barman at Beckett's.

Mr Oner confirmed the 32-year-old briefly helped out at his business. He said he was just trying to help a fellow Turkish national.

"I don't even know the kid that well," he added.

"I got to know him in the last few weeks when he used to come for a haircut. He had finished with his partner and was coming to the shop and giving me a hand. He wanted to learn the job."

Among those at yesterday's rally was Dan McConville, who saw the ram-raid unfold.

"The van just rammed into the shop. It backed up and went in again," he said.

Mr McConville said: "People, in their minds, are angry at what happened [to Mr Magee] but this is not the way to go about it".

One of the rally's organisers, Orla McCabe from the Mount Eagles Drive Action Group, urged "anti-social elements" to stop attacking the community.

"Our concern is that we are one step away from serious injury to residents above and adjacent to the property," she said.

Detective Chief Inspector John McVea, who is leading the investigation into Mr Magee's murder, said no-one could take the law into their own hands.

"Everyone we have spoken to as part of our enquiries has been immeasurably cooperative and these actions have no support in this community."

Sinn Fein MLA Jennifer McCann urged people to co-operate with police.

"If people want to see justice for Eamonn Magee they should co-operate with the PSNI inquiry so that whoever murdered him is brought to justice," she said.

SDLP councillor Brian Heading said: "Attacks of this nature do little to honour the memory and boxing achievements of Eamon Magee Jnr."

Belfast Telegraph


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