Belfast Telegraph

Police investigating after video shows shots being fired over coffin of IRA killer Alex Murphy

A gun was fired into the air a number of times.
A gun was fired into the air a number of times.
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

Police are investigating an online video which appears to show shots being fired over the coffin of IRA killer Alex Murphy.

The video appeared online on Monday evening which showed a masked man firing a handgun a number of times over the open casket while other mourners look on.

Police have confirmed that a "robust investigation is underway to establish the full circumstances surrounding this incident".

Murphy was laid to rest on Monday after a funeral with paramilitary trappings.

He received a life sentence along with Hugh Maguire for killing Royal Signals corporals Derek Wood (24) and David Howes (23) in one of the most notorious murders of the Troubles.

South Belfast MLA Christopher Stalford has written to Chief Constable Simon Byrne to express his concern around the video.

"It would appear to me on sight of this footage that it represents criminal and illegal activity," the DUP representative wrote.

The gunman who fired the shots.
The gunman who fired the shots.

DUP MLA Joanne Bunting said that she would be raising the video with the PSNI and at the next Policing Board meeting.

The East Belfast MLA said that the video was particularly concerning following a number of similar incidents this year.

"Questions need asked, we are trying to move away from these kind of displays and the organisations behind them are supposed to have been stood down," she said.

"This man (Murphy) perpetrated one of the most heinous acts of the Troubles and his death brings back memories of the one of the worst incidents in Northern Ireland's history and some of the most repugnant and repulsive images of our past."

TUV leader Jim Allister said that police must investigate the footage.

“There are a number of obvious questions. Not least who is the unmasked man standing to the left of the footage? Why is he wearing rubber gloves at a funeral?," the North Antrim MLA said.

“The PSNI need to be seen to taking this matter seriously. There are obvious lines of inquiry which need to followed.

"Confidence in the police service is already at a low point within the unionist community. If they are going to recover any of the lost ground there must be prosecutions following today’s events.”

UUP MLA Doug Beattie said that the footage was "absolutely disgraceful".

He said that the footage showed that the IRA still have access to weapons and ammunition.

The former soldier pointed out that the footage shows that the gun was being fired without any issues and this requires logistics knowledge.

"Coming on the back of shows of strength at other funerals this proves to me that the IRA is not some veterans group," the Upper Bann MLA said.

"Those bullets that are fired into the air don't stay up there, they need to come back down and that poses a danger to people in the area."

He called on the PSNI to conduct a "thorough investigation" of the footage.

A Sinn Fein spokesperson also condemned the video.

Alex Murphy
Alex Murphy

"There is no place for guns on our streets,” the spokesperson said.

PSNI Superintendent Lorraine Dobson said that police were carrying out an investigation into the video.

 “A robust investigation is underway to establish the full circumstances surrounding this incident," she said.

“Bringing any weapons onto the streets, whether imitation or real, is a reckless act and one that serves no other purpose than to cause fear and intimidation.

“This was not a sign of respect.

"This was a criminal act with no regard for the wider wishes of law abiding people, carried out by those who would seek to exploit and control the community through the fear of violence."

Superintendent Dobson said that the incident could have injured someone.

"The footage shows a man walking out of the front door of a house just yards away from where the shots were fired, while it also shows a young boy standing beside the coffin as the volley of shots was fired," she said.

"Firing a gun, in such criminal circumstances, will always have the potential to put lives at risk and is simply unacceptable.

"I want to appeal to anyone with information to contact detectives at Musgrave Street on 101 or alternatively, information can be provided anonymously by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Superintendent Dobson pointed out that police had carried out an operation during Murphy's funeral on Monday.

“Police were present during a funeral in the area of St Peter’s Church in west Belfast yesterday afternoon," she said.

“An evidence gathering operation was in place and any evidence of offences detected will be put before the Public Prosecution Service.”

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