Northern Ireland

Young boys first to find lifeless body of Malcolm McKeown, murder trial told

Victim was shot at least six times

Malcolm McKeown was shot dead in August 2019
Malcolm McKeown was shot dead in August 2019

Two young boys out cycling were the first people to observe the lifeless body of Malcolm McKeown, a murder trial heard.

Evidence from police officers and paramedics who arrived at the murder scene was presented at Belfast Crown Court, where four men are standing trial.

Mr McKeown was shot at least six times as he sat in his silver BMW at the back of a service station on Waringstown’s Main Street on August 19 2019.

As statements were read from members of both the police and ambulance service, the non-jury trial also heard evidence from the assistant state pathologist who carried out a post mortem on the 54-year old.

A female officer who attended the scene observed several bullet holes in the driver’s side of the BMW.

In her statement, she said she was informed that it was “two young boys who came across him (Mr McKeown) while cycling in the area”.

The pathologist who carried out the post mortem on Mr McKeown’s remains was called to give evidence and revealed that the deceased was struck by at least six bullets.

He confirmed the cause of his death was “bullet wounds to his head and trunk”.

Earlier this week, one of the four men standing trial - Andrew Thomas Kenneth Martin (28) from Bridge Street in Banbridge - pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the murder of Mr McKeown and was handed a life sentence by Mr Justice Fowler.

However, the basis of this plea was not accepted by the Crown and he appeared in the dock on Wednesday alongside his three co-accused.

Mr Justice Fowler heard that Martin’s plea “will have to be adjudicated upon on the basis of the evidence before you”.

Jake O’Brien (29) from Rectory Road in Lurgan, Stevie Lee Watson (35) from Princeton Avenue in Lurgan and 34-year old Simon Smyth from Hazelgrove Avenue in Lurgan - continue to deny murdering Mr McKeown. At hearing.