Northern Ireland news

Belfast murder victim Jim Donegan's wife says he 'wasn't involved in criminality'

Murder victim Jim 'JD' Donegan with his wife Laura

THE wife of a man murdered outside a west Belfast school has denied her husband was involved in any criminal activity following claims he was a drug dealer.

Laura Donegan said that Jim 'JD' Donegan "worked hard every day" and she will "forever defend and stand up" for him.

Mr Donegan was shot dead outside St Mary's Grammar School on Glen Road on Tuesday as he sat in his Porsche waiting to collect his 13-year-old son.

CCTV footage released by the PSNI shows the suspected gunman in hi-vis gear walking to the scene and later fleeing on foot.

Requiem Mass for Mr Donegan will take place on Thursday at 10am at St John the Evangelist Church, followed by a service at Roselawn Crematorium at 1pm.

The 43-year-old is survived by his wife Laura and his children Cris, Jamie and Max.

Mr Donegan lived in the Lisburn area and ran a courier company. He had business interests and criminal associates on both sides of the border.

His murder bore the hallmarks of a professional hit.

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Some sources believe he may have become caught up in fighting between two Dublin-based crime families.

But in a post online, Mrs Donegan said her husband was "not involved in any way with any criminal activity".

She was responding after one of her husband's friends challenged those making claims to produce evidence he was a drug dealer.

"I am glad there are people standing up for my Jim. All the lies and accusations are just off the scale," Mrs Donegan said.

"My Jim was not involved in any way with any criminal activity.

"I knew who my Jim was and he was nothing like that. He worked hard every day.

"Maybe the people who are spreading the gossip and lies should try a day's work, give them something to do, rather than try to label my husband."

She added: "I will forever defend Jim and will always stand up for him as I know who he was. They don't and never will."

Two men, aged 49 and 51, arrested after searches in west Belfast were released unconditionally last week.

St Mary's Christian Brothers Grammar School has made counselling services available to pupils and staff following the killing.

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