Murders of best pals linked to Dublin gangsters, but ex-ONH men in frame over shootings
Detectives have drawn up a list of gunmen who they suspect murdered criminal Mark Hall in the days before Christmas.
Among the names are dissident republicans linked to the 2020 killings of Warren Crossan and Kieran Wylie, who were also shot dead in west Belfast.
Former members of the ONH (Oglaigh na hEireann) terror gang are believed to have been involved in the attacks, with the method of each being the same.
All three involved two gunmen trapping their victims in or outside their family homes and escaping on foot.
PSNI insiders say the fact that no getaway cars were used in the murders is telling as it shows the killers had support from within the surrounding area.
Senior cops now strongly suspect that at least two, and possibly three of the fatal shootings, involved the same gunman and have drawn up a list identifying key suspects.
This is something hinted at by Detective Chief Inspector Neil McGuinness — the man leading the Mark Hall murder probe — who told Sunday Life: “There is only a limited amount of people who would be prepared to fire shots like that in a built-up area where there are lots of people, children and vehicles moving around.”
Hall was struck with seven bullets on December 18 while standing in the living room of his mother’s house in the St James’s area of west Belfast. He had been on a fleeting visit there to drop off Christmas presents.
Only a select number of people knew he was returning to the Rodney Drive property on the train from his new home in Drogheda, one of whom tipped off the gunmen who fired two 9mm handguns through the front window.
Hall had been living under threat of death for months after vowing to avenge the June 2020 murder of his close friend Warren Crossan (28), also in the St James’s district.
Crossan was slain on the orders of southern criminals who accused him of supplying the getaway car used in the killing of Dublin hitman Robbie Lawlor, who was shot dead in north Belfast in March 2020 while collecting a drug debt.
These individuals are now believed to have paid ex-ONH members to kill his close pal Mark Hall, who knew he was under threat and had been moving between Drogheda and Cork to stay safe.
“The similarities between the murders of Mark Hall, Warren Crossan and Kieran Wylie form an important part of the investigation,” a security insider told this newspaper.
“They were killed by experienced gunmen, people who were not afraid to approach their homes, and in Crossan’s case chase after him down the street.
“There are very few people in west Belfast capable of doing this, on top of having the confidence to escape on foot into a nearby safe-house.”
The name of one prominent dissident republican has been rumoured locally as being involved in the Mark Hall killing.
PSNI sources admit that although he is a “person of interest” they cannot say conclusively that he is the trigger-man.
Tragically, at the time of his murder, Hall was to become a father for the second time. His pregnant partner Sabrina Wilde put photographs of a scan of their unborn child on social media last week, revealing the baby will be born in July.
The image led to an outpouring of support for the Dublin woman, with comments coming from Ann Crossan — the sister of murder victim and Hall’s best friend Warren Crossan.
She wrote: “Amazing, could picture the big smile on his face seeing this.
“He would be very proud of you.”
Although involved in serious criminality from an early age Mark Hall had promised to turn his life around for the sake of his young family.
He had connections to drugs and firearms dealers and had served time in prison on remand for extortion and possessing guns, with the cases against him eventually collapsing.
Anyone with information on the Mark Hall murder is being asked to contact police on 101 quoting reference number 1466 18/12/21, or telephone the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.