07/06/2007

Cummings murder inquest begins

An inquest at Belfast Coroners Court into the shooting dead of a 19-year-old Catholic man in Antrim in July 2001 has heard that rival loyalist paramilitaries may have been involved.

Ciaran Cummings, 19, was shot twice with a sawn off shotgun as he waited for a lift at the Greystone Road roundabout.

Hit once by a gunman who was a pillion passenger on a motorcycle, Mr Cummings had tried to get away, but when he fell to the ground he was pinned by the legs and shot in the head at point blank range.

A Detective Chief Inspector said that the shooting was "absolutely brutal." He also said that rival loyalist paramilitary factions had made four different claims of responsibility.

Two separate claims had been made by the Red Hand Defenders, a name occasionally used by the Ulster Freedom Fighters, one from Orange Volunteers, and the Loyalist Volunteer Force had denied responsibility, but blamed the Ulster Volunteer Force.

Police believe that one organisation, probably the Red Hand Defenders, may have carried out the attack with support from the UVF.

No one has been convicted of the welder's murder, though a witness revealed that a dry run was carried out on the day before the murder.

(SP/KMcA)

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