15/10/2013

Man Arrested Over 1993 UVF Murder

A 50-year-old man has been arrested by detectives investigating the UVF murder of a man in east Belfast 20 years ago.

The arrest follows the reopening of the investigation last week. PSNI officers were operating in parts of east Belfast, distributing leaflets and posters and asking for help from the local community.

40-year-old Joseph Reynolds, from west Belfast, was travelling to work as a subcontractor painter at Shorts aircraft factory when his van was ambushed by gunmen.

The red Nissan van had stopped at a pedestrian crossing on Sydenham Road at 08:25 on the morning of 12 October 1993 to allow two men to cross.

The men, who were wearing blue boilersuits and flat caps, walked across the road at Fraser Street but then opened fire on the van with a handgun and a rifle.

At the same time, another man in a stolen light blue Astra car, which had pulled up behind the van, also opened fire.

Mr Reynolds’ workmates managed to get the van to the Shorts factory where medical assistance was provided, but Mr Reynolds was soon pronounced dead.

Three of the seven other men in the van, four relatives and three workmates, were also injured.

The UVF claimed responsibility for the attack.

The PSNI says the three gunmen ran off down Frazer Street, across the Sydenham by-pass to Ballymacarrett Road where they drove off in a dark blue Vauxhall Astra.

A number of arrests were made in the original police investigation but no one has ever been charged.

Information has been provided to Serious Crime Branch, leading to the investigation being re-opened.

Detective Chief Inspector Karen Baxter, from Serious Crime Branch, said: "This was a murder which devastated the Reynolds family and shocked the east Belfast community. There was something about Joseph being shot on his way to work in broad daylight in front of relatives and workmates which chilled people.

"I am asking people who witnessed the shooting to make contact with police. I am also appealing to people in east Belfast who have information about those involved to come forward.

"Joseph left a wife and five children. He was widely respected in the community, far beyond his native west Belfast. I would ask those people with information in east Belfast who can assist this renewed investigation to do the right thing and tell us what they know."

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Reynolds investigation team at Ladas Drive on 0845 600 8000.

The independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.

(IT/MH)

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