Partner of murder victim Dan Murray to leave Belfast home

Ciara Austin holds a picture of her partner Dan Murray taken on the day of the birth of their son Padraig. Picture by Mal McCann

THE partner of murder victim Dan Murray has said she will have to move from her home as she attempts to come to terms with his brutal death.

The 55-year-old was shot twice in the head in the Lady Street area of west Belfast on Monday night, after being lured to the area by a hoax call to the Chinese take-away where he worked as a delivery driver.

The call had been made from a phone box in north Belfast.

The victim's partner, Ciara Austin, narrowly escaped injury in April last year when armed men broke into their north Belfast home and tried to kill Mr Murray, pushing her to the ground in front of the couple's two-year-old son Padraig.

He was shot in the face but survived the attack.

Speaking to the Irish News at the time, he denied he was involved in drugs and said he had previously been targeted because he refused to hand over money to dissident republicans.

His partner, who took the phone call at the takeaway on Monday, described those responsible on Tuesday as "animals" who had "robbed a man of his life".

Ms Austin revealed she had discussed the murder of Michael McGibbon - shot dead by dissident republicans in Ardoyne last month - with her partner just days before he himself was murdered.

"Me and Dan actually spoke a few nights ago, we were sitting watching the news and that girl Joanne from Ardoyne (Mr McGibbon's wife) was on, and I looked to him and said 'I'm so, so glad I never had to go through what she's going through because you survived' - and here I am just days later in the same position.

"We were together for five years, we talked about getting married.

"Now I'm going to have to leave my home, I don't feel safe here at all any more."

Ms Austin said while she wasn't aware of any new threat to Mr Murray's life, she was convinced the same people were responsible for both gun attacks.

"I don't think they (PSNI) did enough because for it to be as serious as what it was, they came and took a statement off me the last time and that was it, they've never been back since.

"Nobody wants to help no matter where you go to - they just pass the buck from one to another.

"I think people are trying to justify his murder, they're calling him a drug lord - I'm so angry I can't even cry.

"What kind of a drug lord delivery drives three nights a week?

"The rumour mill starts, 'Oh he was a drug dealer so that give's us justification'. It doesn't justify taking a man's life and killing someone's loved one.

"They're cowards - there are no words. They're just animals."

Police appealed for information on Tuesday about the "horrific" shooting but said it is too early to comment on a motivation.

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