Editorial: Brutal killers must be brought to justice

It is profoundly disturbing that as we approach the end of 2022, guns are still being brought onto our streets and lives destroyed by those wedded to extreme violence.

Unfortunately, another family has been plunged into grief, this time in Newry, where a man was shot multiple times at close range on Thursday evening.

The attack happened in the Ardcarn Park area around 6pm, with police believing the killers had lain in wait for their victim.

A senior PSNI officer said the 58-year-old man, a husband and father named locally as Mark Lovell, was essentially 'ambushed and executed'.

Superintendent Norman Haslett said: "This was a brutal and a senseless attack on a defenceless man.''

It is clear considerable planning went into this murder with detectives looking at a link to a cross-border organised crime group feud as part of their investigation. Mr Haslett said a possible drugs link formed one line of inquiry.

Whatever the motivation for this terrible crime, there can be no possible justification for murdering a man in cold blood.

Not only did those who carried out this barbaric killing display no mercy towards their victim, waiting in the dark and shooting him repeatedly, they also showed a reckless disregard for people living in the vicinity.

After the shooting, the victim's car crashed into a nearby property.

There is no doubt that local residents have been exposed to a shocking level of violence that could easily have resulted in death or injury. Anyone who fires a gun in a built-up area is putting the public at risk, including families and children who will be going about their daily lives on a Thursday evening.

Mr Haslett has moved to reassure the local community, saying the police presence in the area will be stepped up.

This is important as there will be fears this murder could lead to further violence.

The PSNI has also appealed to anyone who saw anything suspicious to contact detectives.

It is vital that police receive every possible support in their efforts to bring those responsible for this despicable crime to justice.

The criminals who plotted this killing, who waited to murder a man and executed him in the most callous manner, are obviously highly dangerous and need to be stopped.

Our streets have seen more than enough gun violence, and experienced the suffering that it brings.