Belfast Telegraph

Police raid Belfast home of Alex Murphy after shots fired over coffin

Shots being fired over Alex Murphy's coffin
Shots being fired over Alex Murphy's coffin
Police officers search house of the late Alex Murphy in west Belfast
Brett Campbell

By Brett Campbell

Items have been seized from the home of late IRA killer Alex Murphy (61) during a police raid which took place after footage emerged online showing a volley of shots being fired over his coffin.

Armed officers stood at the door of the terraced property on the Falls Road yesterday afternoon as colleagues searched inside.

Superintendent Lorraine Dobson said the action was taken as part of a "robust investigation" into the footage, which police believe was recorded over the weekend.

"No arrests have been made; however, a number of items have been seized and taken away for examination," she said.

The paramilitary tribute appears to have taken place at the rear of Mr Murphy's home.

It is understood father-of-four Murphy lived in the property alone before he passed away last Thursday, but a number of relatives were in the house when around half-a-dozen police vehicles pulled up outside.

The search followed a PSNI pledge to fully investigate the incident.

Police officers search the house of Alex Murphy in west Belfast following a social media video showing shots being fired over his coffin in the family home (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Police officers search the house of Alex Murphy in west Belfast following a social media video showing shots being fired over his coffin in the family home (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)

On Monday four men wearing black berets and sunglasses flanked the coffin of the man who was convicted of killing two corporals in 1988.

Later that evening a video posted on social media showing a masked man firing shots into the air over an open casket sparked widespread anger and condemnation. A young boy can be seen beside the gunman.

It prompted South Belfast DUP MLA Christopher Stalford to write to Chief Constable Simon Byrne to express serious concern about "criminal and illegal activity".

Police officers search the house of Alex Murphy in west Belfast following a social media video showing shots being fired over his coffin in the family home (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Police officers search the house of Alex Murphy in west Belfast following a social media video showing shots being fired over his coffin in the family home (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)

Yesterday over a dozen angry neighbours - including close relatives of Mr Murphy - gathered on the street outside as a police helicopter hovered overhead.

"They [the security forces] harassed him since he was 15 and they are still harassing him in death," a relative said.

"Why can't they just let him rest in peace?"

Many other residents expressed outrage and accused the PSNI of harassing their community.

"This is just for show," a friend who was at the funeral said.

"They know there is nothing in that house, this is simply about appeasing unionists by being seen to act.

"What on Earth are they going to find inside other than memories of Alex? That's all that is there."

East Belfast DUP MLA Joanne Bunting has promised to ask questions at the next Policing Board meeting.

"This man 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," she added.

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

The soldiers were shot dead after being dragged from their car, stripped and beaten by a mob when they strayed into the funeral cortege for IRA man Kevin Brady, one of those killed when loyalist Michael Stone attacked a funeral at Milltown Cemetery.

TUV leader Jim Allister has also demanded a full investigation.

UUP MLA Doug Beattie branded the footage "absolutely disgraceful" and said it proves that the IRA still has access to weapons and ammunition.

He noted that the gun was fired with ease, which he said requires logistics knowledge.

A Sinn Fein spokesperson also condemned the video and said "there is no place for guns on our streets".

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