Northern Ireland news

Children of murdered former IRA commander Gerard 'Jock' Davison speak for first time as details emerge of threat to his life

Gerard 'Jock' Davison was shot dead in the Markets area of Belfast in 2015
Connla Young

THE children of Gerard 'Jock' Davison have spoken for the first time about his murder as it emerged he was warned by police his life was in danger before he was killed.

The former IRA commander turned community worker was gunned down as he walked to work in the Markets area in south Belfast in May 2015.

Four months later his one-time friend Kevin McGuigan, also a former IRA man, was shot dead outside his Short Strand home.

The killing sparked a political crisis at Stormont.

It has now emerged that Mr Davison was told by police his life was under threat.

It is understood the father-of-three attended a PSNI station in relation to a warning around a month before he was shot.

Details have emerged as preliminary inquest hearings into his death have begun.

The gun used to kill Mr Davison was a Russian-made Makarov and is believed to have been smuggled into Ireland by drug dealers.

A gun similar to the type used in the murder of Gerard Davison

In 2019 it was revealed that police received anonymous information suggesting there was a gun at an address in the Markets area two weeks before the murder.

The Police Ombudsman's Office contacted Mr Davison's father Jimmy to inform him they were carrying out an investigation after a referral by then Chief Constable George Hamilton.

Mr Davison was told it found that police "failed to take proper and appropriate action", with the findings stemming from a "failure to properly progress an intelligence submission".

The ombudsman added that it was not possible to say if there was a gun at the address and whether it was linked to the murder.

Speaking for the first time since Mr Davison's death, daughter Eimear voiced her family's concerns following news of the death threat.

“These revelations are of real concern to our family given what has transpired previously in regard to the Police Ombudsman’s report," she said.

"There are significant questions that we would seek answers to in regard to the murder of our father."

Her solicitor Michael Brentnall, of Brentnall Legal, said: “The family are conscious that there are valid and compelling questions arising from information emanating from various quarters, which require answers.

"However, they are also very aware that they are facing into an inquest into their father’s murder and they would strongly encourage anyone with any information in regard to this to contact our office.”

A spokeswoman for the PSNI said: "We do not discuss the security of individuals and no inference should be drawn from this.

"However, if we receive information that a person’s life may be at risk we will inform them accordingly.

"We never ignore anything which may put an individual at risk."

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