Northern Ireland news

Lone gunman who shot dead Danny McClean (54) may have lain in wait

Daniel McClean, who was shot dead in the Cliftonville Road area of north Belfast on Tuesday night

THE lone gunman who shot dead Danny McClean (54) in north Belfast may have lain in wait in the built-up residential area, police believe.

Detectives have appealed to the community for help following the "brutal and calculated murder" on Cliftonville Road on Tuesday evening.

The victim was sitting in the driver’s seat of a red Audi Q2 which was parked in a driveway when he was targeted.

“The lone gunman crossed from Clifton Crescent and fired a number of shots at close range," Superintendent Jason Murphy said.

"This gunman was wearing dark clothing and gloves and after the shooting, walked back towards Clifton Crescent.

"I am appealing to anyone who was in the area of Clifton Crescent at its junction with the Cliftonville Road between 7.30pm and 8.30pm to contact us.

"I would also like to see any CCTV footage captured by local residents or businesses and dash-cam footage.

Read more: Murdered man Danny McClean (54) was facing weapons charge

Police at the scene of the murder of Daniel McClean in the Cliftonville area of north Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann.

“Answers to many of the countless questions relating to Danny’s murder lie within the community. Today, I am appealing to anyone who has any information to talk to us."

The murder is being linked to a fall-out among dissident republicans that also claimed the life of Kieran Wylie, shot in his west Belfast home last May.

Kieran Wylie was shot dead in west Belfast in May 2020

A former member of Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH), originally from Andersonstown, McClean's name had appeared in threatening graffiti last year.

The father-of-two served a short prison sentence after being convicted in January 2019 in an MI5 sting targeting members of ONH.

Along with a co-accused he admitted assaulting an unknown man and collecting information useful to terrorists on suspected drug dealers.

Charges of IRA membership were 'left on the books'.

Military records showed he joined the Territorial Army in 1991 before transferring to the Royal Irish Regiment in 1994, where he stayed until December 1996.

Following his release from prison he was told he was under threat from ONH, who had been previously unaware of his military past, and he moved to an apartment close to the Hilden brewery in Lisburn.

Shortly before Christmas his car was vandalised outside the flat.

He had since moved to temporary accommodation in north Belfast, close to where he parked his car on the Cliftonville Road on Tuesday.

Friends of the dead man say he planned to flee Northern Ireland but bail conditions linked to pending charges prevented him from leaving the jurisdiction.

Due in court next week, he had been charged with two counts of possessing documents likely to be "useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism".

He was also accused of possession of a 9mm handgun and a magazine with 17 rounds of ammunition.

Supt Murphy said while dissident republican involvement was a "definite line of enquiry" in the murder, the investigation was still at an early stage.

A post-mortem examination will be carried out today, as police seek to establish if the weapon was used in previous attacks.

Posting on social media, one of Mr McClean's daughters said: "I have no words at the moment, just that my daddy didn’t deserve this at all.

"I appreciate all comments that I have received so far but all I can say is that my daddy was my world, my rock, my everything.

"He was my all. My daddy didn’t deserve this, I won’t stop fighting for justice."

Read more: Murdered man Danny McClean (54) was facing weapons charge

Forensics officers at the scene of the killing: 

  • This article was amended on February 4 2021

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