15/10/2013

Police Return To North Belfast Murder Scene

Detectives from Serious Crime Branch investigating the murder of 46-year-old Kevin Kearney in north Belfast have returned to the scene today in an effort to gather more information.

Mr Kearney was shot on Tuesday morning, 8 October, as he took his dogs for a walk in Alexandra Park, a short distance from his home in Dunmore Avenue.

His body was discovered in a nearby lake at 3.30pm on the following Wednesday afternoon.

A dissident republican group calling itself 'the IRA' told the Irish News it had carried out the attack.

It is understood that Mr Kearney's partner raised the alarm when he did not return home on Tuesday.

A 45-year-old man who was arrested on Monday 14 October in connection with the shooting has been released unconditionally, the PSNI has said.

As part of today's revisit to the crime scene, an actor resembling Mr Kearney walked with the dogs from Dunmore Avenue to Alexandra Park where a mobile police station was set up.

Officers were on hand to speak to passers-by exactly one week since the murder.

In addition, a silver Peugeot 406 car, registration number GNZ 8168, which police believe may be connected to the murder was placed at Donore Court in the New Lodge area where it had been set on fire last Tuesday.

Mr Kearney's brother, Martin, 48, appealed to the community.

He said: "Kevin's family are distraught and destroyed by his murder. It has torn us apart. We are devastated.

"Kevin was not an angel but, for all its faults, the British justice system is a better way to deal with these things than someone stepping out of a bush, shooting Kevin dead and leaving four children without a father.
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"I would appeal to the nationalist and republican community to come forward and help to bring these people to justice. If you don't want to talk to the police, then talk to Sinn Féin about it so that these evil people can be brought before the courts."

The officer leading the investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Justyn Galloway, said: "The investigation is making progress but we still need assistance on specific points.

"Did anyone see Mr Kearney in Alexandra Park last Tuesday morning between 8.45am and 9.15am with his dogs? We know that people were in the park and I would make a specific appeal to people running in the park.

"Did anyone see a silver Peugeot 406 car in the Alexandra Avenue, Antrim Road area last Tuesday morning? Its registration number is GNZ 8168. This car was found burnt out at Donore Court in the New Lodge area around 9.30am on Tuesday morning.

"Does anyone have any information about Mr Kearney or those involved in his murder?"

Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly said: "The murder of Kevin Kearney is to be condemned outright. The pseudo 'republican' group that carried out the killing have no support whatsoever with the local community.

"In fact it is common knowledge that they have within their ranks people who have taken back handers from drug dealers so that they can continue peddling drugs. This makes them the same as the drug dealers who bring death and destruction to the community.

"Masquerading under the name republican does not stop people from seeing these groups for what they really are. I would call on anyone who has any information on this killing to bring it forward to the PSNI."

Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives at the Incident Room in Musgrave Street police station on 0845 600 8000.

Or, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.

(IT/JP)

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