Man shot dead after drugs gang feud, court told
Malcolm McKeown was gunned down in Co Down earlier this month.
A man was gunned down following a “long-standing” criminal gang feud involving drugs in Northern Ireland, a detective has said.
Malcolm McKeown was shot six times in the head and body at a petrol station earlier this month, a senior officer told a court on Monday.
Jake O’Brien, 25, from Rectory Park in Lurgan, and Andrew Martin, 24, from Trasna Way, also in Lurgan, Co Armagh, appeared in the dock at Lisburn Magistrates’ Court accused of murder. Both deny the charge.
The victim was found dead in his car parked at the rear of a filling station on Main Street in the village of Waringstown in Co Down.
A detective said she could connect the accused with the charges using a combination of CCTV footage and, in O’Brien’s case, DNA evidence taken from a discarded glove close to a vehicle used in the killing.
The detective inspector said the murder was connected with a “long-standing feud between criminal groups in relation to drugs in the area.”
She said the nature of such disputes meant there was a risk of retaliatory attacks between members of the groups.
It was the police case that Martin parked his Volkswagen Golf in a street and then got into a dark saloon-type vehicle which investigators said was a Volkswagen Passat used in the murder.
The Passat was seen parked in the area of the killing for 50 minutes before Mr McKeown was shot six times, the detective said.
Police later received an emergency call that a man in a car park was slumped in a vehicle.
Witnesses reported hearing shots.
A short time later the fire service responded to a Volkswagen Passat on fire, which police believe was the car used in the attack.
After it was set alight, two men were filmed on CCTV running away wearing boiler suits, then making off in Martin’s car.
O’Brien was identified by four officers using the footage, the detective told the court.
A black latex glove with firearm particles and bearing a complete DNA profile of O’Brien was discovered close to the vehicle on a grassy area which police said was the natural route the two men would have taken.
Martin was later stopped by police on an unrelated matter and when the officer’s body-worn camera footage was reviewed boiler suits were seen in the boot.
O’Brien’s solicitor Peter Corrigan said: “There is no forensic link to the scene of the murder by way of DNA.”
Firearms and a large quantity of cash was seized from O’Brien’s address after his arrest, the detective told the court.
District judge Rosemary Watters remanded the accused in custody to re-appear before a judge via video link at Craigavon courthouse on September 20.
There was a verbal altercation between some in the public gallery and police which was resolved peacefully.