Belfast Telegraph

Police baffled over motive for gun attack on teen Irish rugby star's home

Adam McBurney's windows riddled with bullets during terrifying incident near Ballymena

By David Young

Mystery continues to surround the motive behind a ferocious gun attack on the home of one of Northern Ireland's most gifted young rugby players.

Four days after the Easter Sunday attack on the Ballymena home of young rugby star Adam McBurney (18) and his brother Shane (20) their house appears deserted, its front window still riddled with bullet holes.

Last night, a friend of the young rugby star ­- who has already represented Ireland at Under 20 level - told the Belfast Telegraph that Adam just wanted to put the whole thing behind him.

"He's only 18," the friend said. "He's only young, He just wants to forget about the whole thing."

In the garden of the little semi in the tiny Fortview estate, yellow spray paint rings still mark the spots where the police found evidence from the gunfire.

A dozen bullet holes - each still with an individually numbered tag placed there by the forensic investigation team - scar the front room window.

Neighbours are baffled by the attack.

The Fortview Estate is a small half-circle of semi-detached houses in a pretty rural setting a couple of miles south of Ballymena on the road to Antrim.

David McCullough, who lives close to the McBurney's house in the close said he woke up to a scene the like of which which he never expected to witness near his own home.

"It was a terrific shock to wake up and find the whole place sealed off.

"It was like a scene from the TV - from CSI or something like that," he said.

"The police were everywhere.

"The CID took statements from all of the residents. The forensic team were there all day.

"This was a terrible thing to happen in such a quiet street," he said.

"I can't think why the brothers' house was attacked."

It's thought that, since the attack, Adam and Shane have not stayed in the home they inherited when their mother died just over a year ago.

Staff at the Tullyglass Hotel where Adam works were full of praise for the up and coming young rugby star. who is tipped for a full international career.

"We're so proud of Adam and what he has achieved with his rugby. We've watched him grow in to a fine young man who's a real credit to himself and to the hotel," said a staff member who knows him well.

Adam's coach at Ballymena RFC, Andy Graham, paid tribute to his rapid development as a fresh young rugby talent.

"He's a very good player - he's playing really really well at the moment. I'm very well pleased with his progress.

"For someone who is just 18 years old, he has done exceptionally well in what is, after all, a very tough, physical sport."

Police will only say they are looking at "criminal elements" being behind the gun attack.

A car was found burned out a short distance away from the scene. PSNI Chief Inspector Natalie Wilkinson has issued an appeal for witnesses or anyone with information to contact Ballymena CID.

Belfast Telegraph


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