Senior loyalist shot dead at home was awaiting blackmail trial

A crime-scene investigator at the murder scene on the outskirts of Ballymena on Tuesday night. Picture by Alan Lewis/Photopress

A SENIOR loyalist shot dead at his Co Antrim home has been named as David Hugh Murphy (52).

It is understood a neighbour discovered his body at the farmhouse on Church Road in Glenwherry, on the road between Ballymena and Larne, at about 1pm on Tuesday February 19.

People in the area say Murphy had been involved in an altercation days before his death, when he was set upon by a gang of men.

In March 2018 he was released on bail charged in connection with a suspected extortion plot targeting a man who was told to hand over £10,000. Murphy, described in court as a cattle and sheep farmer, was due to stand trial this year for blackmail and threats to kill.

In 2004 he was convicted of possessing a sub-machine gun, four pistols, ammunition and paramilitary-style clothing thought to belong to the UVF.

A car at the farmhouse on Church Road at Glenwherry which remained cordoned off on Tuesday night. Picture by Alan Lewis/Photopress

On Tuesday night crime-scene investigators continued to examine the farmhouse.

Police said: “Detectives from the PSNI’s Major Investigation Team have launched a murder investigation following the discovery of the body of a man at a house in the Church Road area of Glenwherry. 

“Enquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances surrounding his death.”

Sinn Féin's Oliver McMullan said the rural community was in shock.

“I would be calling on police to conduct a full investigation, not just into this man’s cause of death but also the circumstances leading up to the discovery of his body,” he said.

A PSNI Major Investigation Team, investigating the discovery of a body at a property on the Church Road at Glenwherry in County Antrim

David Murphy was found dead in a house in Glenwherry, Co Antrim. Picture by Alan Lewis, Photopress

The scene where David Murphy was found dead in Glenwherry. Picture by Alan Lewis, Photopress

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