Belfast Telegraph

Parents of murdered loyalist offer £10k reward if killers are convicted

John Boreland
John Boreland
The aftermath of John Boreland's shooting
Claire McNeilly

By Claire McNeilly

The mother of murdered loyalist John Boreland is offering a £10,000 reward for information that will bring his killers to justice.

Winnie Boreland said she and husband Billy, both aged 70, are putting up the money in the hope that it will encourage someone who knows what happened to come forward.

The renewed appeal comes as the family prepare to mark the third anniversary of his killing.

John 'Bonzer' Boreland (46), a senior UDA man, was hit three times with shotgun bullets outside his north Belfast home at Sunningdale Gardens, off the Ballysillan Road, in August 2016.

Three men have been jailed for their roles in destroying the getaway car used in the murder, which a judge described in court as a "cold-blooded assassination".

But his mum Winnie told the Belfast Telegraph that she felt compelled to make an appeal for information "one more time" as nobody has yet been convicted of his murder.

"My husband and I are 70..." she replied, when asked why she was speaking out now.

"At first we concentrated on the trial, and on the three people who were convicted... and it was quite hard going through that for two years. They were only sentenced last year and there's been no progress at all in John's case.

"We haven't got any further with it and coming up to his third anniversary I just felt that I had to try one more time."

Mrs Boreland said she hoped the reward money might persuade someone with relevant information on the killing to come forward.

"I think it (the money) might be an incentive - but it's money upon conviction," she stressed.

She also said that, in her eyes, justice means jail for the people behind the murder.

"I'm hoping that the people who killed my son are brought to trial and convicted," she said.

Describing what happened on the evening of his death, three years ago today, Winnie said her son - a father-of-three, a brother, an uncle and a grandfather - "got out of his car at his flat when he was shot multiple times and left to die".

"Three years have passed without justice for our son's brutal murder," she added.

"Three men were jailed for perverting the course of justice last year but no one has been held accountable for taking John's life and destroying ours in the process. Our broken lives will never be healed and we can't get peace knowing that his murderer is still out there."

Describing her life since, Mrs Boreland said that it was "hard to put into words".

She added: "John was our only son. He was part of our support and we saw him daily. Living without him doesn't get easier... it's just a coping mechanism."

Referring to the murder of her son, who is understood to have been living under a death threat at the time, Mrs Boreland said: "The night it happened it was a shock.

"It's a shock when anybody loses a child."

When asked if her views on loyalism have changed following John's death, she replied: "The people who killed my son are not loyalists and that's all I'm prepared to say about that."

And she appealed for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for her son's murder.

"Please help us catch his killer - it's never too late to come forward. Please tell police what you know. The number to call is 101," she said.

She added: "My main consideration is my family. They have been through a really hard time and I don't want any more hard times for them. This is me putting this forward because I just feel I need to do something else."

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