Belfast Telegraph

Ray Johnston mourners told 'killers will have to face God for what they have done'

By Mark Edwards and Eamon Sweeney

The funeral of Raymond Johnston, who was gunned down at his home in west Belfast, has taken place.

Mr Johnston (28) was shot in the chest in his living room in Glenbawn Avenue in Poleglass at around 8pm on Tuesday, February 13.

The brutal attack was carried out by two gunmen in front of his partner and 11-year-old child.

Police have said dissident republicans are suspected of involvement in the murder.

Many mourners dressed in Celtic football shirts attended the service at the Church of the Nativity in Poleglass on Monday morning.

Mr Johnston's hearse was bedecked with floral tributes and an Irish tricolour bearing the insignia of Celtic F.C was draped over his coffin.

During the funeral Mass, Parish Priest Fr Aidan Keenan speaking about Mr Johnston’s murderers said: “Those who feel they have the right to be judge and jury will have to face God for what they have done.

“We are here to pray for the soul of Raymond Johnston-a loving son, a father, stepfather, fiancé, brother, friend and neighbour. Death is very difficult to deal with at anytime, but to deliberately shoot a fellow human being is unbelievable.

“We do not know why he was singled out and it is not up to us to speculate. We are here to pray for his soul and his family and friends.”

Fr Keenan added: "He was a lovable rogue who would have admitted that in the past he was no saint and had done things when he was younger that he regretted. But, the Troubles had an effect on all our lives."

The funeral of murder victim Raymond Johnston takes place at the Church of the Nativity in Poleglass on February 19th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
The funeral of murder victim Raymond Johnston takes place at the Church of the Nativity in Poleglass on February 19th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Partner Eileen Robinson The funeral of murder victim Raymond Johnston takes place at the Church of the Nativity in Poleglass on February 19th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
The funeral of murder victim Raymond Johnston takes place at the Church of the Nativity in Poleglass on February 19th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
The funeral of murder victim Raymond Johnston takes place at the Church of the Nativity in Poleglass on February 19th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
The funeral of murder victim Raymond Johnston takes place at the Church of the Nativity in Poleglass on February 19th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
The funeral of murder victim Raymond Johnston takes place at the Church of the Nativity in Poleglass on February 19th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
The funeral of murder victim Raymond Johnston takes place at the Church of the Nativity in Poleglass on February 19th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Partner Eileen Robinson The funeral of murder victim Raymond Johnston takes place at the Church of the Nativity in Poleglass on February 19th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
The funeral of murder victim Raymond Johnston takes place at the Church of the Nativity in Poleglass on February 19th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
The funeral of murder victim Raymond Johnston takes place at the Church of the Nativity in Poleglass on February 19th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
The funeral of murder victim Raymond Johnston takes place at the Church of the Nativity in Poleglass on February 19th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)

However, mourners were told it was after meeting his fiancé Eileen Robinson that Mr Johnston settled down in Glenbawn Avenue.

Fr Keenan said: “He was surrounded by wonderful friends and neighbours. Out of every tragedy comes goodness. Raymond brought everyone together in grief.

“We must pray he is the last to die in such a tragic way and that we find a way back to peace.

“Our true future lies in the happiness of heaven. Our life on earth is very short.”

After Requiem Mass, Raymond Johnston’s remains were laid to rest in Crumlin Cemetery, Co Antrim, where he originally came from.

He is survived by his parents Bernie and Noel, his partner Eileen, son Ethan, stepchildren Tierna and Rosie and his siblings Danielle, Andrew, Kirsty and Chloe.

Police say that on the day of the killing, February 13, a dark coloured car was seen in the area around the time of the attack.

A spokesperson for the PSNI said that anyone that can help with the investigation should call the non emergency number 101 and speak to a detective at Musgrave Road station and quote reference 1192 of 13/2/18.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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