Belfast Telegraph

Malcolm McKeown murder: ‘I’ve lived all my life in the village and nothing like that has ever happened here’

Police at the scene of the shooting yesterday
Police at the scene of the shooting yesterday
Ralph Hewitt

By Ralph Hewitt

The eerie silence that engulfed the small Co Down village of Waringstown following Malcolm McKeown's murder on Monday night was palpable.

Locals gathered around Dewart's service station as the news broke of the shooting.

No one could quite believe what was happening in this quiet residential area as police cordoned off the only main road through Waringstown.

Neighbours along the Banbridge Road, now separated by a three-mile diversion, watched on as the emergency services' blue lights pierced the darkness while police officers controlled the scene and the forensic team attempted to piece together what had happened.

Those standing on the street were almost afraid to speak as they whispered to each other the few details they knew by that early stage. One local resident said she was shocked that something so violent could happen in Waringstown and described how quickly the events unfolded.

"My mum and dad came to visit me and my partner around nine o'clock and there didn't seem to be anything going on at that stage, but by 9.20pm the police had the road closed when they were leaving," she said.

"It does make you fearful that there's someone in the village with a gun."

A lifelong resident of the village added that Dewart's service station was popular with locals.

"I've lived in the village all my life and nothing like that has ever happened here," he said.

"It's been very tense. I visit that shop virtually everyday to buy my breakfast.

"The mechanic based down there, where the victim was found, is very popular with local people.

"It's very shocking because Waringstown is such a quiet place."

Yesterday morning the silence was still hard to get used to as the busy thoroughfare linking Lurgan and Banbridge continued to be closed off to the public.

The main road was occupied by two PSNI vehicles redirecting traffic away from the scene while local politicians said their piece to the gathered media.

Neighbours affected by the cordon were unsure of how to go about their daily routine as the forensic experts showed no sign of ending their investigation.

Within the 0.2 mile distance of Waringstown's main street, beginning at Dewart's service station, there is another shop, a school, chip van, fish and chip shop, nursery, chemist, pub and a Chinese restaurant.

This small community has ground to a halt since the village became a no-go area after the frightening murder.

The residents of Waringstown, and those in nearby Lurgan and Banbridge, will be hoping the PSNI can get those responsible and their guns off the streets.

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