Woman (21) left fighting for life after brutal Warrenpoint murder
A young woman caught in the blast as her boyfriend was gunned down in Warrenpoint on Friday evening remained in a critical condition in the Royal Victoria Hospital last night.
Alice Louise Burns (21) has been left fighting for her life following emergency surgery after being struck by shotgun pellets as her boyfriend Wayne Boylan (37) was shot dead in a suspected drug-related attack in the Co Down town.
Ms Burns, a former St Mark's High School pupil who comes from the town, although she is believed to have been working in London recently, was initially rushed to Newry's Daisy Hill Hospital following the shooting.
She was then transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.
It's understood she has remained unconscious since the attack.
Mr Boylan (37) died at the scene after two masked gunmen burst into a flat on Lower Dromore Road, near Warrenpoint Golf Club, at around 7.30pm on Friday.
There has been speculation that Mr Boylan was a victim of mistaken identity, with self-confessed sex offender William Barlow (50) in the house at the time.
He is due to be sentenced this week on child sex charges, although other reports suggest police believe Mr Boylan was the intended target.
He was struck in the head by the shotgun blast, while his girlfriend was hit in the face and neck by pellets from the same round before the killers fled the scene.
They are believed to have escaped across the nearby border and the PSNI say they are liaising with gardai, though police say they have no reason to believe the "senseless and callous" killing is linked to any criminal elements in the Irish Republic.
The investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Geoff Boyce, said there was no clear motive yet for the murder, but officers were following two lines of enquiry linked to drugs and paramilitaries. DCI Boyce said Mr Boylan had returned from a local off-licence 10 to 15 minutes before the attack and may have been followed to the house.
"This was a senseless and callous murder perpetrated on a completely unsuspecting man," he said.
"Wayne was a father and his two young children have been left without their father.
"He was a son, a brother and a friend.
"His murder has caused his family and friends immeasurable pain and their lives will be forever changed by his loss."
Police confirmed that Mr Boylan was in the flat with two other people, including the injured woman.
Appealing for information, DCI Boyce said: "I would particularly like to hear from anyone who was in the area between 6pm and 8pm on Friday evening and may have seen two men or any vehicles fleeing from the scene.
"Did you see any vehicles being driven erratically in the area of Lower Dromore Road or the dual carriageway between Newry and Warrenpoint around 7.30pm?
"We want to give answers to a grieving family and put his murderers behind bars."
The Major Investigation Team can be contacted on 028 4461 1001.