Police raid IRA killer Alex Murphy's home after video shows shots being fired over coffin
Police have carried out a raid on the home of IRA killer Alex Murphy after a video emerged showing a volley of shots being fired over his coffin.
Police officers arrived at the house on the Falls Road in west Belfast on Tuesday afternoon to carry out the search.
An investigation is underway to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident in which a masked man fired a handgun several times over the open casket in the back garden of the family home as mourners, including young children, watched.
"As part of our investigation, we conducted a search in the Falls Road area as part of our enquiries," said Superintendent Lorraine Dobson.
"No arrests have been made, however, a number of items have been seized and taken away for examination.
"It is clear from the footage, which we believe was recorded sometime over the weekend, a number of persons were present and witnessed the volley of shots being fired, and I would appeal to them, or anyone with information, to call detectives at Musgrave Street on 101 or alternatively, information can be provided anonymously by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."
The father of four was laid to rest on Monday following funeral mass at St Peter's Cathedral before his remains were taken to Roselawn Crematorium.
Murphy 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.
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."
South Belfast MLA Christopher Stalford said he's 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," he said.
DUP MLA Joanne Bunting said that she would be raising the video with the PSNI and at the next meeting of the Policing Board.
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."
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.
"There is no place for guns on our streets,” the spokesperson said.
Belfast Telegraph Digital