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Father of Kevin McAlorum wants to 'set record straight' on man he blamed for son's murder

Kevin McAlorum whose son, also called Kevin, was shot and killed outside a primary school on the outskirts of west Belfast in 2004. Picture by Hugh Russell.
Connla Young

The father of a man shot dead by the INLA has said he no longer believes a convicted killer previously linked to the murder was responsible.

Belfast man Frankie 'Studs' Lanigan had been blamed for the killing of Kevin McAlorum in 2004.

Mr McAlorum was shot dead outside Oakwood Integrated Primary School in Derriaghy, near Lisburn, shortly after dropping off his young child in June 2004.

The 31-year-old was driving away from the school when his car was rammed by a van and two gunmen got out and opened fire.

He was the older brother of a nine-year-old girl, Barbara, who was shot dead during an INLA feud at her north Belfast home in March 1996.

Kevin McAlorum pictured cat the funeral of his young sister Barbara who was shot dead during an INLA feud in 1996

The family was beset by more tragedy in 2010 when her mother Margaret died after choking.

In 1997 Kevin McAlorum was sentenced to 16 years in prison for possession of a gun after the car he was travelling in was stopped near Lurgan, Co Armagh, days after his sister was shot dead.

He is suspected of being the person who shot and killed former INLA Chief of Staff Gino Gallagher (32) in January 1996.

Former INLA chief Gino Gallagher

He was gunned down as he waited in a social security office on the Falls Road in west Belfast during during the same bitter feud that also claimed the life of Barbara McAlorum.

A convicted killer, Lanigan was told last year he must spend at least 20 years in jail for the May 1998 killing of John Stephen Knocker (22).

Mr Knocker was shot dead outside the Glengannon Hotel, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, minutes after he got the better of Lanigan in a fight.

Lanigan later denied he was the gunman and spent six years fighting extradition.

Frankie Lanigan

Before his capture by an undercover Garda unit Lanigan lived in Dublin and worked as a barber under the name Ciaran McCrory.

Kevin McAlorum's father, also called Kevin, last night said he no longer believes Lanigan was the man who killed his son after new information came to light.

The 67-year-old, who is known as 'Maxi' and was in prison serving a sentence for armed robbery when his son was shot dead, said he was "a million percent (sure) that Frankie Lanigan did not shoot my son dead".

He said Lanigan has previously been a "very close friend of the family" and revealed he has spoken to him by phone.

Mr McAlorum said that the convicted killer cried when he told him he no longer blamed him for the murder of his son.

"I have already phoned the prison and asked him to send me out a visit," he said.

"I apologised wholeheartedly.

"I am sorry for blaming that fellow.

He added that "Frankie Lanigan is in there for John Knocker but he didn't kill my son, that I had been accusing him of.

He said that he wanted to put "the record straight" and that "it's a good weight off my mind".

Mr McAlorum said he is aware of the identity of the suspected killer, who lives in west Belfast, and who was a former friend of his dead son.

He added that he now intends to meet with his solicitor.

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