31/01/2007

Police reissue McCartney murder appeal

Detectives investigating the murder of 33-year-old Robert McCartney near a Belfast city centre bar are renewing their appeal for information two years on from his death.

The senior investigating officer, Detective Superintendent Kevin Dunwoody, said: "Robert McCartney died two years ago on Monday 31 January 2005. He was brutally beaten and then stabbed to death. His friend Brendan Devine, was very badly injured in the attack which I believe was carried out by a number of people.

"Both Robert and Brendan were stabbed following an incident which started in Magennis' Bar in May Street around 10.40pm on the Sunday night of January 30 and continued outside the bar in Market Street and into Cromac Square.

"Brendan Devine was stabbed and was seriously injured but survived the attack. Robert, tragically, later died of his injuries. While a small number of people actually assaulted Robert and Brendan, others helped and supported those in what they did and afterwards."

Det Supt Dunwoody continued by appealing to anyone who was in or near Magennis' Bar or in the Cromac Square area on the night of the attack and witnessed anything in connection with it to contact police.

He said: "So far one person has been charged with Robert's murder. A number of other individuals have been reported for offences linked to the murder. However I still have open lines of enquiry and I urge anyone who was there that night who hasn't already given a statement to police to come forward now.

"Were you in the bar on Sunday January 30 2005? Did you see a row or a fight take place? Did you see or hear a row outside the bar? Did you see people go into Market Street? Did you see a vehicle drive into Market Street about the same time? Did you see people come back into the bar afterwards or hear anything said? Have you spoken to police yet?"

Det Supt Dunwoody also appealed to drivers who were in the area to come forward: "In Cromac Square we know an attack took place at the traffic lights at the junction of Cromac Street and East Bridge Street. There were two cars - one blue and one silver - waiting at the traffic lights to turn right onto Cromac Street. We are still appealing for the people in the blue car to come forward and to tell us what they saw.

"They could provide us with invaluable help. We also need to talk to the driver of another car in East Bridge Street that Sunday night who narrowly avoided a collision with another vehicle coming out of Market Street."

He emphasised the importance of potential witnesses coming forward with information, no matter how much or how little is available: "If you have any information that you have not yet given to police I would urge you now to come forward and to tell us what you know no matter how little or unimportant you believe it to be,” he said.

"I would also address my appeal to those who have declined to speak to police in the past for whatever reason. I would ask you to reconsider that decision; come talk to me or my team, tell me what you know so that Robert can get justice, his family can get justice and peace of mind and that those who committed this terrible crime can be held to account."

Anyone with any information should contact detectives on 0845 600 8000, or anonymously on the Crimestoppers number on 0800 555 111.

(EF/KMcA)

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