Belfast Telegraph

Paramilitary thugs slammed after ex-UDA man the victim of 'shooting by appointment'

Greenisland train station, close to where the shooting took place
Greenisland train station, close to where the shooting took place
Colin Simms

By Lisa Smyth

The gang behind a "barbaric" paramilitary shooting in Co Antrim must be brought in front of the courts, an Alliance MLA has said.

Stewart Dickson has criticised the attack on a 39-year-old man, named as Colin Simms, who was shot in both legs in Greenisland on Friday night.

Simms - a convicted killer driver and drug dealer - remained in hospital last night.

Reports suggest the former South East Antrim UDA commander was a victim of the same loyalist group in a row over drugs money.

Police have said the victim, who has a string of convictions including serving a jail sentence for crashing a car while under the influence of drink and high on drugs resulting in the death of passenger Stephanie Horner, was ordered to attend the paramilitary-style attack by appointment.

Mr Dickson said: "As a resident of Greenisland, I have seen first-hand the revulsion after this shooting tonight.

"It is frightening to hear about more guns in our community.

"Those who carried out this attack need taken off the streets immediately before they repeat this disgusting act of violence.

"If anyone has any information on this incident, I ask them to give it to police immediately."

The latest security situation bulletin from the PSNI at the start of October recorded a decrease in the number of paramilitary-style shootings, but noted an increase in the number of paramilitary-style assaults.

Paramilitaries shot 17 people between October 2018-September 2019, down from 20 in the previous 12 months. Most of these incidents (11) happened in the Derry City and Strabane area.

After a four-month period between April and July which saw no such attacks, August and September saw five such shootings.

There were 64 casualties following paramilitary-style assaults, up from 55 in the previous 12 months. Most were carried out in Belfast (21) or the Antrim and Newtownabbey area (18).

Meanwhile, police investigating the latest shooting, which happened in the Station Road area at about 8pm, have appealed for information. Detective Chief Inspector Mary White said yesterday: "We received a report at around 8.05pm from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service that a man had been shot in both legs in the Station Road area of Greenisland, in the vicinity of the train station.

"The man, aged in his 30s, was subsequently taken to hospital for treatment to injuries to his lower legs and he remains in hospital today. We believe at this time that the shooting was by appointment and that the man had been ordered to attend this location to be shot. This is totally barbaric and must stop.

"No one deserves to have this happen to them and there is absolutely no justification for an attack like this in our communities. We must all work together to bring those responsible to justice and to stop this from happening to anyone else."

DCI White appealed to anyone who saw any suspicious activity in the Station Road area, or who was driving in the vicinity, at the time and has dashcam footage, to contact detectives by ringing 101 or by speaking to Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555 111.

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