Northern Ireland

Kevin McGuigan's son claims his father 'exonerated' over Gerard 'Jock' Davison murder

Kevin McGuigan was shot dead in August 2015
Kevin McGuigan was shot dead in August 2015

The son of a man believed by some to be involved in the murder of former IRA commander Gerard 'Jock' Davison claims he has been "exonerated" after police said he is not a suspect.

Former IRA member Kevin McGuigan was shot dead outside his Short Strand home in east Belfast in August 2015.

The killing took place three months after Mr Davison was shot dead as he walked to work through the Markets area of south Belfast in May 2015.

The pair, who were former friends and close allies, are believed to have fallen out around 2005 and Mr McGuigan was later the victim of a punishment shooting carried out by republicans.

Mr McGuigan, who denied any involvement, had presented himself to police for questioning after Mr Davison’s murder.

The killing of Mr McGuigan, which is seen by some as revenge for the earlier shooting of Mr Davison, sparked a political crisis.

While police blamed members of the Provisional IRA and Action Against Drugs they said there was no information to suggest it had been sanctioned or directed at a senior level in the republican movement.

Police later confirmed Mr McGuigan had been "spoken to" as part of the Davison investigation "as a potential witness, not a suspect"

A preliminary inquest hearing last year was told that a police report to the coroner had made clear that detectives had not considered Mr McGuigan a suspect in Mr Davison’s murder, though the report added that “others” did.

Mr McGuigan's son Pearse McGuigan has now insisted the evidence clears his father.

"The police have clearly stated that my dad was not even considered a suspect for the very incident he was killed in retaliation," he said.

"Had the police acted and published the information they have, it would have dispelled the rumours in the community and saved my father’s life.

"This evidence exonerates my dad from involvement in the murder for which he paid the ultimate price of his own life."

Solicitor Darragh Mackin, of Phoenix Law, said the "revelations come as a timely reminder of the importance of full disclosure by the respective state authorities at the earliest possible opportunity.

"The reality is, according to this evidence, the state had in its possession information which directly points away from the involvement in the murder of Mr Davidson to which it is believed our client was killed in retaliation," he said.

"This is a crucial issue to which our clients look forward to examining in detail at the upcoming inquest."

A spokeswoman for the PSNI said: "Anyone with a complaint about the actions of police can contact the office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland who will fully investigate their complaints independently."