Northern Ireland

Newtownabbey murder: police investigate drugs links

Danny McKay
Image caption Danny McKay was shot six times at his home in the Longlands area

Police are investigating possible links to drugs and the involvement of dissident republican paramilitaries in the murder of a man in Newtownabbey.

Danny McKay, 36, was shot dead at his home in Longlands on the outskirts of north Belfast at 20:30 BST on Thursday.

DCI John McVea said it was a "brutal and ruthless attack".

"He was known to police, but not particularly well known. Whatever Daniel may have done in his life, nothing merits this," he said.

Mr McKay, the father of a 10-year-old child, was shot several times as he sat alone on a sofa in his living room. He died at the scene. At least two armed men were involved in the attack.

DCI McVea said: "We are keeping an open mind as to who was involved and would appeal to anyone who knows which group or individuals were involved to contact detectives."

Police are investigating a link to a silver Volkswagen Bora which had been stolen by five masked men in the New Lodge area shortly before the shooting and was later found burnt out in Ardmoulin Place, west Belfast.

Sinn Fein Newtownabbey Councillor Gerry O'Reilly said there was "shock and anger" in the area at the murder.

He said there was speculation among residents that dissident republicans were responsible for the attack which, he said, happened in the man's home.

"He is a local man, the man has lived there all his life," he added.

'Appalling and brutal'

Mr O'Reilly said children were playing in the street outside at the time of the shooting and people were at shops "within yards" of the incident.

Image caption Mr McKay was shot several times as he sat alone on a sofa in his living room

He said the killers needed "to be taken off our streets to prevent this happening again".

"The local community is in a state of shock. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time," he said.

"What is abundantly clear though, is that those responsible have shown absolute disregard for this community and endangered those nearby through this reckless and dangerous action.

"I would appeal to anyone with any information to make it known to the PSNI as soon as possible. There can be no justification whatsoever for this type of attack and those behind it need taken off our streets."

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said it was an "appalling and brutal killing".

"It is deeply shocking for people in this residential area," he said.

"Throughout the entire community, people will be sickened by this and will be thinking today about how often we used to hear about these kinds of killings in the past and making it very clear that we don't want any return to this kind of activity."