Loyalist involvement suspected after 52-year-old farmer David Murphy shot dead in Co Antrim
A man found shot dead in a Co Antrim house has been named locally as David Murphy.
The PSNI have launched a murder investigation after the body was found in Glenwherry, between Ballymena and Larne.
It was discovered at around 1pm yesterday at an address on Church Road.
It is understood the victim was a 52-year-old livestock farmer.
He was found dead by a neighbour who then alerted the police.
One source said loyalist paramilitary involvement was suspected.
Forensic officers were at the property last night. It is a traditional farmhouse with outbuildings and sheds surrounded by fields, around halfway between Ballymena and Larne.
Mr Murphy had been accused of blackmail and threats to kill last March. He had been bailed after denying the charges.
Mr Murphy and another man had been accused of trying to extort £10,000 from a man. In 2004, Mr Murphy had been accused of possessing firearms and ammunition, and having the items in his possession for an act of terrorism for the UVF.
DUP councillor Reuben Glover said the facts surrounding the man’s death had not been confirmed by the police. “Forensics are still up there at the moment,” he said.
“It is a very rural area. Glenwherry is a very close-knit community where people mind their own business and they get on with their work. It is a farming area. For something like this to happen is a total shock to the whole community.”
Former Sinn Fein MLA Oliver McMullan said the community had been left shocked by the death.
He said: “I’m calling on the police to begin a thorough investigation into the circumstances from the weekend up to the time of his death, which took place either early this morning or late last night.
“The man was found by a neighbour. I understand he was shot in the house.”
He added: “This is a quiet area and locals are alarmed at what has happened. I would appeal to anyone with information on what happened to bring it forward to the PSNI.”
A PSNI spokesperson said last night: “Detectives from the PSNI’s Major Investigation Team have launched a murder investigation following the discovery of the body of a man at a house in the Church Road area of Glenwherry this afternoon.
“Enquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances surrounding his death.”