Northern Ireland news

Lurgan murder victim was a father of four

Police at the scene of the murder in Lurgan's Lord Lurgan Park. Picture by Colm Lenaghan, Pacemaker
Jonathan McCambridge and Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

Detectives investigating the killing of father-of-four Shane Whitla have condemned the actions of those responsible, calling it a “senseless murder”.

The body of the 39-year-old local man was found in Lord Lurgan Park last night. He had been shot a number of times.

Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell added that police are not investigating any links between this murder and the murder of Natalie McNally in Lurgan before Christmas.

Speaking at Lurgan Police Station, Superintendent Kellie McMillan called Mr Whitla’s death a “senseless murder”.

“Those responsible had no thought whatsoever for the victim, his family, or for the people of Lurgan. I condemn their actions in the strongest possible terms,” she said.

The superintendent confirmed that one officer, one of the first responders on the scene, “sustained injuries” when responding to the initial call.

“I want to reassure the community of Lurgan that police will be conducting high visibility patrols in the area.

“Local residents will continue to see an increase in the visible police presence. People will see our officers and staff in and around the town.

“Should anyone have any concerns or want to ask for help or advice, please speak to us. We want to help.”

Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell said that there are several lines of inquiry.

“Our investigation is at a very early stage, and we are working to establish the circumstances of Shane’s brutal murder.

“Shane leaves the loved ones behind, including four children. There’s no possible justification for this murder.

“He was shot a number of times, including once in the back. No one should protect the person responsible for this murder.

“Finally, I’m aware of speculation in the local community that this may be linked to the murder of Natalie McNally here in Lurgan before Christmas. This is not the case. Police are not investigating any links in these two murders.”

He issued an appeal to anyone with any information to come forward.

“I want to repeat my appeal for anyone with information to please come forward and speak with us. Were you in Lord Lurgan Park yesterday evening? Did you see the attack, or see or hear anything untoward?

“Please contact us with information no matter how insignificant it seems, on 101.”

A £20,000 reward from Crimestoppers is being offered for people with information about those responsible.

“I’m keen to stress that information can be given anonymously,” the senior investigating officer said.

“Crimestoppers will never ask for, or store, any of your personal details.

“The charity, who are independent from police, is offering a reward for information it receives that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Shane’s murder.”

People can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at

A 29-year-old man arrested in Lurgan on Thursday night as part of the investigation remains in custody.

The park remained closed this evening while a separate scene nearby was also cordoned off for a time as part of the investigation.



The PSNI confirmed it had launched a murder probe after a man was shot dead in Lurgan (Niall Carson/PA)


Northern Ireland news