Jim Donegan killer captured walking calmly to murder scene

Footage of the gunman in the Jim Donegan murder captured running away from the scene of the gangland style assassination

DETECTIVES investigating the murder of Jim 'JD' Donegan have released CCTV footage that shows the lone gunman responsible for the gangland-style assassination calmly walking down a busy main road just minutes before the fatal gun attack.

Mr Donegan was shot dead as he sat in his red Porsche Panamera shortly after 3pm on Tuesday as he waited to pick his 13-year-old son up from St Mary's Grammar school on the Glen Road in west Belfast.

He was shot eight times to the head and chest and died at the scene.

Detective Chief Inspector Pete Montgomery said yesterday that many of the children leaving three nearby schools witnessed the shooting.

He also praised teachers who formed a human shield and held up coats save the young pupils from witnessing the aftermath of the brutal murder.

"Mums, dads, grandparents, young siblings and people in the community also saw the brutal slaying. The callous actions of the gunman will have catastrophic psychological effects on them all", Mr Montgomery said.

"The gunman walked past these children and fired a weapon eight times. It is utter madness as any one of these bullets could have ricocheted and having been at the scene I cannot emphasise enough that it is sheer luck I am not investigating multiple fatalities.

Laura Donegan is comforted at the scene where her husband Jim was shot dead. Picture Alan Lewis.

The gunman, wearing a hi-vis jacket was captured on CCTV emerging from a lane at Clonelly Avenue onto the Glen Road at around 3.10pm on Tuesday, minutes later Mr Donegan's £80,000 supercar is seen coming into view as he drove to pick his son up from school.

He can be seen carrying a black drawstring bag believed to have contained the murder weapon.

Analysis: Daylight murder designed to send out a chilling message (premium)

Just minutes later, the killer is seen running back up Glen Road and along a lane into Clonelly Avenue - where he is captured on more CCTV footage - before he disappeared.

Police have not traced any getaway vehicle and there is no sighting of the gunman after this point.

Flowers at the scene on the Glen Road near to where Jim Donegan was murdered on Tuesday. Picture by Mal McCann.

Mr Montgomery would not be drawn on what type of gun was used or confirm that Mr Donegan was under death threat or if he was known to police.

Sources say the victim may have found himself on the outskirts of the ongoing Dublin criminal feud.

Read More: Wife of murder victim pays touching tribute

Among his close friends is a man who is a known associate of the Gerry Hutch, known as 'The Monk'.

The feud between the Hutch and Kinehan crime families has so far claimed at least 16 lives.

The PSNI also refused to say yesterday whether or not they had contacted An Garda Siochana for assistance in tracking Mr Donegan's killer.

The also said that dissident republican involvement would remain one line of investigation.

Mr Donegan owned a courier company, among his other business interests was a car dealership Infinity Autos, that offered second hand cars for sale with full finance and no credit checks.

He also ran a valeting service which cleaned second hand cars in preparation for sale.

Analysis: Murder bore all the hallmarks of a professional assassin (premium)

Sources say Mr Donegan was a regular visitor to Wilson's Auction house in Mallusk and had been at the car auction on the morning of his murder.

A spokesperson for the popular auctioneers said yesterday; "Wilsons Auctions outsourced its valeting work in Belfast to Infinity Autos of which Jim Donegan was an associate".

Both St Mary's and nearby CBS schools remained closed yesterday while police still examined the scene.

St Mary's interim principal Fiona Crookes told the BBC; "Our primary concern at that stage was that they wouldn't see what we had to see."

"Mr Donegan's son soon became "our priority" as he walked down the lane to meet his father, she added".

Pupils will be offered counselling when the school reopens today.

Meanwhile, Bishop of Down and Connor Noel Treanor, speaking at St Peter's Cathedral last night during the West Belfast Primary Schools Festival of Carols condemned the murder he said would have a "lasting legacy and impact on all who were present".

"There is no place in a civilised society for such vicious and hostile actions which endanger the lives of all within the community, especially the children and young people who were making their way home from the safety of their schools".

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