Belfast Telegraph

Paramilitary link to murder of Conor McKee is probed

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

Paramilitaries or organised criminals may be behind the drugs-related murder of a father-of-two in Belfast, police have said.

Conor McKee (31) was blasted a number of times with a shotgun at his Glenpark Street home two weeks ago.

His body was discovered in an upstairs bedroom by his mother.

Detective Chief Inspector Justyn Galloway, who is leading the investigation, said: "Our enquiries to date and the intelligence picture at my disposal have combined to make a number of main lines of enquiry in Conor's murder. These include the involvement of paramilitaries and individuals linked to organised crime.

"I have no doubt this assessment will prompt reactions in the community but it is important to be clear that police remain open to all lines of enquiry and will go where the evidence takes us.

"Just because Conor was involved in drugs does not mean that the police service will walk away from what happened to him or his mum, his dad, his partner and their children."

So far detectives have interviewed more than 100 witnesses, visited over 250 homes and conducted four searches.

Two people arrested as part of the investigation remain on bail pending further enquiries.

Officers are also expected to revisit the scene to mount road stops and speak to pedestrians.

An electronic display sign will be used as part of the appeal on the Oldpark Road.

Mr Galloway added: "Our enquiries to date indicate that this was a drug-related murder. From previous experience, such an assessment can cause people to regard the killing as in some way acceptable or inevitable.

"This is a mistaken and, I believe, dangerous perspective for people to adopt. Drugs are wrecking lives in our community. The way to deal with the issue is through a co-ordinated, multi-agency approach involving health, education and law enforcement working alongside individuals, families and communities.

"It will not be resolved down the barrel of a gun. Previous drug-related murders have proved the drugs problem will not be solved through violence."

Mr McKee was last seen in the area of Oldpark Road between 5pm and 6pm on Thursday, January 7. It is thought he was shot at his home at 6.15pm.

Officers want to hear from anyone who may have seen the victim, either on his own or in company.

They are particularly keen to hear from anyone who may have seen a man lurking in an alleyway beside Mr McKee's home around the time of the shooting.

Mr Galloway said: "I am also appealing to anyone who saw a man in the entry beside Conor's home at 5 Glenpark Street around this time. He was wearing a dark-coloured hoodie with a front pocket open at both ends and other dark clothing."

Belfast Telegraph


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