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Kevin McGuigan murder: Gun seized was 'stolen PSNI weapon'

Kevin McGuigan was gunned down outside his home in the Short Strand area of east Belfast
Brendan Hughes

A GUN seized by police during the Kevin McGuigan murder probe was a stolen PSNI weapon, it has been claimed.

Police refused to comment following reports that the pistol was taken from a police car over a decade ago.

A PSNI spokesman last night said: "This is an ongoing live investigation and it would be inappropriate to comment."

The Glock 19 pistol was seized by police last month as officers investigated the murder of ex-IRA man Kevin McGuigan.

Patrick John Fitzpatrick (53) was remanded in custody at Lisburn Magistrates Court charged with possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.

A detective sergeant told the court that when police approached his house to make the arrest, the accused attempted to escape out the back with a "sophisticated" Glock 19 pistol and holster.

He said the Glock's identification markings had been removed from the weapon.

"This shows a forensic awareness," the officer said.

The Daily Mirror yesterday reported that the gun was taken as police investigated the IRA raid on the Northern Bank in December 2004 when more than £26.5m was stolen from its Belfast headquarters.

It was claimed that as officers made follow-up enquiries the gun and holster was stolen from an unguarded police vehicle.

Former republican prisoner McGuigan was gunned down outside his home in the Short Strand area of east Belfast on August 12.

The PSNI has said the group Action Against Drugs (AAD) carried out the father-of-nine's murder along with members of the Provisional IRA.

During the remand hearing, the detective said Fitzpatrick, from the Lagmore Dale area of west Belfast, was under suspicion of involvement in the killing.

He said: "He remains a suspect in the murder of Kevin McGuigan."

The court heard the accused remained silent during 14 police interviews but gave a written statement in which he accepted possession of the weapon.

His solicitor said he obtained it to "protect his family".

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