Northern Ireland news

Killer of leading loyalist George Gilmore remains at large

Forensic officers carry out searches following the shooting of loyalist George Gilmore in Carrickfergus. Picture by Mal McCann

THE killer of leading loyalist George 'Geordie' Gilmore remained at large last night as police maintained a heavy police presence in Carrickfergus.

The 44-year-old was shot in broad daylight while driving his car on a residential street in the seaside town on Monday afternoon.

The gunman, who was unmasked, is believed to be a well known loyalist from the Co Antrim town and member of the south-east Antrim UDA.

Gilmore was 'stood down' as a commander of the hardline group last year over a row linked to drug money, sparking a feud between rival factions.

There are fears that his funeral may be a catalyst for further violence.

The south-east Antrim UDA's 'brigadier', based in Rathcoole, has said any members seen at the funeral will be expelled from the organisation, creating further division in the town.

The UDA leader had ordered Gilmore out of Carrickfergus last year after a row in a bar involving a number of women was followed by an attack on the home of an ex-prisoner.

In June last year a mob marched on Gilmore's home but he refused to leave.

In July those loyal to Gilmore set fire to a bonfire in the town and tore down loyalist flags.

In August a masked man fired a crossbow at a van sitting in the forecourt of a petrol station in an attempt to kill Gilmore.

He was sitting in the vehicle when it was struck with a bolt but escaped injury.

Shots were later fired at the door of a house with two young children inside, and a number of other properties have been damaged.

The PSNI said in December they had spent £1.6m policing the feud and warned that someone could be killed.

Gilmore was shot in the neck while driving his car - a white Vauxhall Insignia, registration YLZ 222 - in Pinewood Avenue at around 2.15pm on Monday.

Police revealed that one of the bullets hit a nearby house.

Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray has appealed to those with influence in the wider community to help ensure the area remains calm, adding that police are "following definite lines of enquiry".

Northern Ireland news

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