Northern Ireland news

Two men to appear in court over Malcolm McKeown murder

The funeral of Malcolm McKeown takes place on Saturday at Emmanuel Church in Lurgan. Picture Pacemaker Press

TWO men are due in court today charged with the murder of Co Armagh man Malcolm McKeown.

The pair, aged 24 and 25, were arrested on Saturday and will appear at Lisburn Magistrates' Court.

The 54-year-old was found dead in his car behind a service station in Waringstown on Monday night around 9pm.

Police said he had been shot up to six times at close range "in cold blood in broad daylight".

Mr McKeown was under threat from criminal elements and was believed to have been heavily linked to the drugs trade in Co Down.

In 2011, he was charged in connection with the murders of husband and wife Hugh and Jacqueline McGeough, who were also linked to drugs, and who were shot dead at their home in Legahory Court in Craigavon.

However, the charges against him were dropped as the evidence was deemed inadmissible.

Mr McKeown was also the brother of LVF killers Clifford and Trevor McKeown who were jailed for separate sectarian murders.

The funeral of the father-of-three, who had been out on bail on aggravated burglary charges, took place at Emmanuel Church Lurgan on Saturday followed by interment in Kernan Cemetery.

Lead pastor Philip Emerson told the mourners that Mr McKeown had found God in the months before his death, the Sunday Life reported.

Mr McKeown's daughter Kirsty also paid tribute, saying: "He had his flaws like the rest of us but he loved life. I am so proud and honoured to call him my dad and I will miss him so much."

Clifford McKeown did not attend the funeral, having failed in a High Court bid to be granted temporary prison release to attend the service.

The 60-year-old is serving a minimum 24-year sentence at Magilligan Prison for the sectarian murder of Co Armagh taxi driver Michael McGoldrick.

Mr McGoldrick, whose wife was expecting their second child and who had graduated just days before he was murdered, was shot dead by the LVF near Lurgan in July 1996.

The killing was reported to have been a 'birthday present' for LVF leader Billy Wright.

During the High Court hearing it emerged that Clifford McKeown had turned down an offer to watch the funeral from prison via a live link.

Trevor McKeown, meanwhile, was convicted of shooting Catholic teenager Bernadette Martin as she slept in the home of her Protestant boyfriend in Aghalee in July 1997, at the height of the Drumcree parade dispute.

The murder weapon was the same gun his brother used to kill Mr McGoldrick.

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