Northern Ireland news

Robbie Lawlor killing: Gunman still has not been identified

Robbie Lawlor was shot multiple times outside a house on Etna Drive in Ardoyne, north Belfast, in April 2020

THE gunman who shot dead crime boss Robbie Lawlor more than two years ago remains unidentified, a court has heard.

Prosecutors confirmed that attempts to establish who opened fire on the 36-year-old underworld figure in north Belfast are continuing.

The update was provided as a man accused of taking part in the assassination plot was again refused bail.

Adrian Holland (38) is charged with murder based on his alleged participation in events surrounding the attack.

Lawlor was gunned down outside Holland's home on Etna Drive in Ardoyne on April 4, 2020.

The killer emerged from the house and shot him in broad daylight.

Opposing Holland's latest bid to be allowed out of custody, a Crown lawyer told Belfast Magistrates' Court he could interfere with the ongoing investigation.

"If he was released there are others involved in this organisation, specifically the gunman, who have not been identified," she said.

Originally from Dublin, Lawlor had been heavily involved in a violent drugs feud between rival Drogheda-based factions.

Previous courts were told he may have travelled to Northern Ireland because he feared he was going to be attacked.

But his killing had already been commissioned three weeks earlier at a meeting in a Sligo hotel attended by an international drugs dealer, it has been alleged.

Neither Holland nor 47-year-old co-defendant Patrick Teer, of Thornberry Hill in Belfast, are suspected of carrying out the shooting.

Instead, they have been charged as part of a joint enterprise to murder.

Defence barrister Joe Brolly claimed the investigation has now moved in a direction which does not feature Holland.

Describing the prosecution case against his client as having no basis in fact, he said: "A quite frankly threadbare theory was advanced by the Crown with such force to ensure this man is not granted bail."

Mr Brolly argued that Holland has been in custody since December 2020 and fully cooperated with the investigation.

But despite acknowledging the passage of time, District Judge Mark McGarrity denied his renewed application for bail.

Mr McGarrity ruled: "There is a risk of interference with the course of justice."

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