Jock Davison murder suspect Kevin McGuigan Sr shot dead - The Irish News
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Jock Davison murder suspect Kevin McGuigan Sr shot dead

Police investigate the murder in the Short Strand area of east Belfast last night. Picture by Declan Roughan
Brendan Hughes and Allison Morris

THE chief suspect in the murder of Gerard ‘Jock’ Davison was shot dead in east Belfast last night.

Kevin McGuigan snr was killed outside his home at Comber Court in the Short Strand area.

Neighbours said he was shot beside his front gate multiple times including in the back of the head.

The former IRA killer is believed to have pulled the trigger on his one-time boss Davison, who was shot dead in the city’s Markets area in May.

Once a high-ranking republican, McGuigan was jailed for the attempted murder of a soldier during the Troubles.

He was kneecapped by the Provisionals more than a decade ago and is thought to have agreed to shoot Davison for criminals.

McGuigan, who was in his early fifties, fell from favour after an incident in the Short Strand in the early 2000s.

After an altercation with Davison he was shot in both legs in a paramilitary-style attack and expelled from the IRA.

Since then he was closely linked with criminal families from south and east Belfast.

A large number of police were called to the murder scene at about 9pm last night.

One woman said around six shots were fired.

Another neighbour said she tended to the wounded man.

“I thought it was fireworks and then I heard the kids screaming and running. I have never witnessed anything in my life like it,” she said.

“I heard his wife scream and I ran out the front. I saw him and threw my cardigan over his head, grabbed his hand and tried to get a pulse.

“Me and another neighbour blessed him and said a couple of prayers into his ear.”

The 57-year-old said McGuigan had got out of a car and was walking to his home when he was shot in the back of the head near his front gate.

“He was a well-loved man, a family man who looked after everybody here, young and old,” she said.

People living in the area said an ambulance arrived within minutes and McGuigan was taken to hospital. Police later confirmed he had died.

Clusters of people including groups of teenagers and young children looked on in shock as officers moved in.

McGuigan had presented himself to police for questioning in the weeks following 47-year-old Davison’s murder.

It is believed McGuigan had been living outside Short Strand area in recent months.

Sinn Féin councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile condemned the shooting, saying: “There can be no place for actions like this in our society.

“The community here rejects any attempt by any armed group to turn the clock back to the past.”

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