Republicans blamed for “brutal” murder in Strabane

The Royal Ulster Constabulary have said they believe republican paramilitaries were responsible for the murder of a Protestant man outside the County Tyrone home of his 16 year old Catholic girlfriend.

Two masked gunmen opened fire on Charles Folliard, aged 30, in Strabane around 11.30pm on Monday October 29, as he left the Oakland Park home of his 16-year-old girlfriend.

The victim, who was hit in the head and leg as he sat in his car, had loyalist paramilitary connections and had been convicted of conspiracy to murder in 1991.

Mr Folliard was taken to Altnagelvin hospital in Londonderry but died on arrival. His family have made a public appeal for no retaliation for his murder.

The police commander for Strabane, Superintendent Clifford Best said it was a “cold and brutal execution of a man in front of his girlfriend”.

He said at this stage it appeared republicans were responsible but which faction was still unclear. He said: “We believe paramilitaries were behind this murder and we are confident that republican terrorists were involved. A sectarian motive is one of the avenues we are looking at. This was a Protestant shot dead leaving his girlfriend's home. She is a Catholic. But it is too early to definitively state the motive behind this attack.”

Sinn Féin MP for the area Pat Doherty has also condemned the attack but has maintained that the IRA had no part to play in Mr Folliard’s death: “I categorically and absolutely refute the fact that republicans were involved in this killing. I believe the IRA ceasefire is still intact. Whoever carried it out were enemies of the peace process and the current developments."

Ulster Unionist assembly member Derek Hussey said it was a shocking murder after the decision by republicans to make a first move on disarming last week.

SDLP West Tyrone assembly member Eugene McMenamin said the shooting must be condemned by all sides in the community. He said: “Last week people throughout Northern Ireland were given hope by the IRA statement on decommissioning. We looked forward to a brighter future and hoped shootings and bombings may become consigned to the past. Tragically it seems this is not the case.”

The police in Strabane have appealed for anyone with more information on the killing to come forward. (AMcE)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

28 June 2024
Man Jailed For Terrorism-Related Offences
A 45-year-old man has been sentenced at Belfast Crown Court in connection with a Continuity IRA attack and other terrorism-related offences. Having previously pleaded guilty to terrorism-related offences, Gabriel Meehan, was sentenced to a 30 month custodial sentence.
11 September 2008
Five Arrested Over Journalist's Murder
Police investigating the murder of journalist Martin O'Hagan have arrested five people in counties Down and Armagh. The Sunday World reporter was gunned down by loyalist paramilitaries in 2001. The Lurgan man, 51, was walking home from a night out with his wife when the attack happened.
24 June 2024
Attempted Murder Investigation Launches In Ballygowan
An attempted murder investigation has been launched after shotgun pellets were fired into a house in Ballygowan on Saturday evening, 22 June. Police received a report that at around 11pm, a number of shotgun pellets were fired through the window of a house in the Brae Grove area, striking a woman in the head and her back.
18 July 2024
Man Charged With Conspiracy To Commit Murder
A man has been charged in connection with a shooting in a Banbridge car park in April of this year. The 46-year-old man who has been charged with conspiracy to commit murder is due to appear before Banbridge Magistrates' Court, sitting in Newry Courthouse, on Thursday 8 August.
04 July 2024
Woman Jailed For 14 Years For Murder Of Her Partner
A woman sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Tony Browne in west Belfast in 2022, has been told he will serve a minimum term of 14 years. In May, 35-year-old Wiktoria Maksymowicz pleaded guilty to murder aggravated by domestic abuse.