Northern Ireland

Fourth man arrested in Shane Whitla murder investigation

Shane Whitla, who was found in Lord Lurgan Park in Lurgan on Thursday night (PSNI/PA)
Shane Whitla, who was found in Lord Lurgan Park in Lurgan on Thursday night (PSNI/PA) Shane Whitla, who was found in Lord Lurgan Park in Lurgan on Thursday night (PSNI/PA)

POLICE have arrested a fourth man in connection with the murder of Shane Whitla in Lurgan.

The 28-year-old was arrested on Wednesday evening on suspicion of murder following the search of a house in the Lurgan area, and was taken to Antrim Serious Crime Suite where he remained on Wednesday night.

Father-of-four Mr Whitla was shot dead last Thursday, January 12.

The 39-year-old was shot several times, including once in the back, before his body was found in Lord Lurgan Park close to Derry Street.

It is believed his murder is being linked to a drug debt and a north Armagh crime gang known as The Firm.

Two men, aged 25 and 41, were arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of Mr Whitla's murder.

The 25-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday morning before being taken to Belfast's Musgrave Serious Crime Suite for questioning. He remained in custody on Wednesday night.

The 41-year-old was detained following a search of a house in Lurgan and was taken for questioning at Antrim Serious Crime Suite. He was released on bail pending further enquiries, police said on Wednesday night.

A 29-year-old man arrested last Thursday in connection with the killing was later released on police bail pending further enquiries.

Meanwhile, Upper Bann Alliance MLA Eóin Tennyson met with police this week to discuss Mr Whitla's murder and that of 32-year-old Natalie McNally in Lurgan's Silverwood Green on December 18.

Police have said there is no link between the two killings.

"These murders have caused huge upset across our community. There is no place for this kind of violence in society, and no support for it in Lurgan," Mr Tennyson said.

"There is an increased police presence in and around the town, with high visibility patrolling to provide reassurance to the public.

"Should anyone have any concerns or want to ask for help or advice, please speak to officers who are there to help."