10/04/2002

Community raise £20,000 reward for murder appeal

Members of the community rocked by the murder of Josias McClenaghan have offered a £20,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the perpetrators of the vicious attack.

Police announced that a reward had been set up as they made another appeal for information regarding the murder.

On March 22, Mr McClenaghan had been visiting a friend on the Kilgavanagh Road, outside Antrim, when a gang forced their way into the isolated farmhouse at around 11.30pm. Both Mr McClenaghan and his 80-year-old friend were beaten repeatedly during what police believe was a botched robbery. Mr McClenaghan died at the scene and the other man was treated for head injuries at Antrim Area Hospital.

Police believe that the gang of three men stole the dead man's red Peugeot 405 to make good their escape. A blue Honda Concerto abandoned at Duncairn Avenue in Belfast is also believed to have been used by the gang.

Senior investigating officer, Detective Superintendent Alan Mains, appealed to people who may have been in the area on Friday March 22 and the early morning of March 23 to come forward.

He said: "Members of the public may have vital information regarding the murder of Mr Josias McClenaghan without realising it. It is very likely that the perpetrators of this terrible crime were seen and we are asking people to come forward with any information they have and let us decide if it is relevant."

He continued: "I'm completely touched by the fact that we have had such tremendous support. People in the community have been absolutely wrecked by this murder."

Police would like to eliminate two cars seen in the area at the time of the murder from their enquiries. The first car was black and seen on the Crosskenan Road at about 4pm and the second was a red saloon seen near the farmhouse at 11.50pm.

(GMcG)

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