| 17.1°C Belfast

Police investigate potential dissident republican link to Belfast murder

Kieran Wylie was shot a number of times at close range at a house in Lenadoon Avenue on Sunday.

Close

Kieran Wylie was pronounced dead at the scene (Liam McBurney/PA)

Kieran Wylie was pronounced dead at the scene (Liam McBurney/PA)

Kieran Wylie was pronounced dead at the scene (Liam McBurney/PA)

Detectives are investigating a potential dissident republican link to the murder of a man in west Belfast.

Kieran Wylie, 57, was gunned down at close range at a house in Lenadoon Avenue on Sunday.

Two of his children, 16 and 28-year-old daughters, witnessed the killing. Police believe two gunmen were involved.

PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Darren McCartney said potential dissident republican involvement was being investigated.

“Certainly one of the lines of inquiry we are investigating is that there is a violent dissident republican motive towards this murder,” he said.

He said Mr Wylie was known to police. He said the victim had also been previously informed that he was “under threat”.

He said his thoughts were with Mr Wylie’s family, particularly his two children who had witnessed the “brutal” shooting.

“The lifelong effect of what they witnessed last night are unimaginable,” he said.

Local residents tried to help Mr Wylie but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

On Monday white boiler-suited police forensics officers combed the scene, a smartly-painted terraced property with flowers in the window and fronted by black railings, for clues.

Close

An ambulance and police vehicles attended the scene (Liam McBurney/PA)

An ambulance and police vehicles attended the scene (Liam McBurney/PA)

PA

An ambulance and police vehicles attended the scene (Liam McBurney/PA)

An ambulance and several police vehicles attended on Sunday evening.

Mr McCartney said: “This was a brutal killing and I believe Kieran was shot a number of times at close range.”

He said the community was shocked at what had happened in a residential area.

“Those involved in this murder selfishly gave no thought to the impact on frontline emergency services who are already working hard to keep people safe during this global pandemic with an already stretched resource.

“They also showed a complete disregard for the community.

“Those involved in this appalling murder offer nothing to the local community and need to be brought to justice.

“Nothing justifies killing another person and the recovery of the gun that was used in last night’s murder is a key line of inquiry for me.”

He appealed for anyone with information to contact police and said he was making the major incident public portal available, which can be accessed at https://mipp.police.uk.

It can be accessed from any device with internet access and videos and images can be uploaded on to it.

Belfast West MP Paul Maskey tweeted: “Local people are angry this attack has been carried out when the community & emergency services are facing the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Mr Maskey added his “thoughts are with the man’s family”.

Close

Paul Maskey said his thoughts are with the man’s family (Liam McBurney/PA)

Paul Maskey said his thoughts are with the man’s family (Liam McBurney/PA)

PA

Paul Maskey said his thoughts are with the man’s family (Liam McBurney/PA)

SDLP west Belfast councillor Brian Heading said: “Those responsible for this senseless and cruel murder are thugs who need to get their foot off the neck of the community in West Belfast.”

He added: “They weren’t wanted in the past and they aren’t wanted now, particularly when our emergency services are working so hard to protect people from the impact of Covid-19.

“The local community is in shock this morning.

“Those responsible need to be caught and face justice for what they’ve done.”

PA