Belfast Telegraph

Murdered Belfast pizza delivery man Kieran McManus voiced concerns after his life was threatened, inquest told

Kieran McManus
Kieran McManus
CCTV footage of Kieran moments before he was killed
Sally McManus leaves Belfast Laganside Courts after the first day of the inquest into the death of son Kieran
The Domino’s Pizza outlet at Kennedy Way where Kieran McManus was shot dead

By Gillian Halliday

A young man shot dead outside a west Belfast pizza outlet had voiced concerns after his life was threatened in the lead up to his murder, 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.

Yesterday, at the opening day of the inquest into the father-of-one's death, Coroner Patrick McGurgan heard that Mr McManus was shot twice in the back as he stood by his car.

He had been targeted while he was working a shift delivering pizza for Domino's and had just placed a pizza box into his car when he was hit, the inquest at Belfast's Laganside Courthouse heard.

His murder has been linked to a long-running feud which started in 2010, and culminated in the murder of south Belfast man Stephen Carson three years ago.

That killing had been connected to a samurai sword attack on west Belfast man Michael Smith, formerly of an address in Monagh Drive, who was convicted of Mr Carson's murder in 2018.

Mr McManus was allegedly involved in the sword attack on Smith, who has never been charged with any offences connected to the McManus killing.

Members of Mr McManus' family - which is being represented by solicitor, Belfast Lord Mayor John Finucane - were present at the hearing, during which his mother Sally heard distressing details of her son's death.

The inquest heard from McManus' half-brother, Christopher Donnelly, who was one of three other people present in Mr McManus' silver Volkswagen Passat during the shooting at around 11.15pm that evening.

In a statement read out to the inquest, Mr Donnelly - who was a teenager at the time of the incident - revealed the gunman, whose face was hidden by a balaclava, spoke to his half-brother seconds before shots were fired.

"I heard him say, 'All right, Kieran'. I got the impression Kieran knew the voice," said Mr Donnelly. "I could see the shock in his face. He didn't get to say anything before he was shot in the back."

A second occupant of the car, whose police statement was read out to Mr McGurgan, described seeing the events unfold, with the gunman grabbing the pizza delivery driver's neck from behind, appearing to have him in a "head lock", before hearing gunshots.

The gunman, who was described as brandishing a rifle, fled the scene in a dark-coloured Vauxhall Astra which pulled up close to where Mr McManus collapsed on the ground.

The emergency services were alerted and first responders - along with Mr McManus' friends and work colleagues - frantically tended to the young man, who was praised as a "good worker" by the Domino's branch manager at the time.

Mr McManus was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital where he was pronounced dead at close to midnight.

Mr Donnelly explained that his half-brother had previously told him that he had been approached by an individual who informed him that "two other individuals were going to come and see him".

"I think Kieran thought it was a threat," he continued.

Mr McManus directly asked the individual if he was being threatened, to which this person replied: "They'll see you when they see you," Mr Donnelly said.

The inquest had earlier heard that Mr McManus had been previously targeted while out celebrating Father's Day in a west Belfast restaurant in 2012 by a group of people, according to Mr McManus' cousin, Martin McCabe.

He told the inquest he stepped in to "try and protect" his late cousin, who had been "stabbed in the head with a bottle" amid "chaotic scenes".

Mr McCabe revealed it was not possible to identify the individual responsible because of the number of people involved.

Northern Ireland state pathologist Dr James Lyness revealed that Mr McManus had suffered a "rapid death" due to the nature of the extensive injuries of the two gunshots to the chest and abdomen.

He added that Mr McManus would have "bled briskly" leading to death "within minutes, if even (that)".

Dr Lyness estimated that, based on the extent of the wounds, the gunshots were fired at close range at a "couple of metres away".

The inquest heard the getaway vehicle had been discovered on fire by police a short distance away from the murder scene, having been stolen "several days earlier from Banbridge Leisure Centre".

The inquest continues.

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