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No justification for brutal murder

The dreadful murder of well known loyalist David Murphy in north Antrim is yet another act of brutal violence that has resulted in someone losing their life.

Mr Murphy (52) was shot twice with a shotgun through the kitchen window of his farmhouse home at Glenwherry, on the outskirts of Ballymena.

This was an exceptionally cold-blooded and calculated crime.

Mr Murphy was alone in his home and as Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy pointed out, this was the place where the victim would have believed himself to be safe.

However, someone deliberately went to his house, targeted him and fired the shots that killed him.

It is understood that a neighbour found his body at lunchtime on Tuesday, a shocking discovery in what is a quiet rural location.

Police are trying to establish a motive for this murder with detectives saying Mr Murphy's background would form part of their investigation.

It is likely that paramilitary connections and any links to criminal elements will have to be fully explored.

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

At the time of his death he was on bail awaiting trial in relation to an alleged extortion plot.

Whatever the reason for this appalling killing, as a society we have to be concerned at the murderous violence we have witnessed in recent times.

We are all too aware of how gangsterism has taken hold in parts of Dublin, where any dispute or falling out can quickly escalate to disturbing levels and where scores are settled at the point of a gun.

That is not what we want in Northern Ireland, where the decades of conflict have inflicted deep scars.

There can be no justification for anyone taking a life and the focus now must be on ensuring those responsible for this murder are apprehended and brought before the courts.

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