Northern Ireland

Murder victim Jim Donegan 'had number of enemies'

The scene of Jim Donegan's murder on Glen Road in west Belfast Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Jim Donegan was shot on Glen Road in west Belfast as he waited to collect his son from school

West Belfast murder victim Jim Donegan was known to police and had a number of enemies, the head of the PSNI's serious crime branch has said.

Mr Donegan was shot dead as he waited to collect his teenage son from school on the Glen Road on 4 December 2018.

Det Ch Supt Raymond Murray revealed the killer used a semi-automatic pistol.

He said bullet heads and cartridges recovered from the scene have been examined and have "garnered us a measure of information".

"Any information that we gain from that, that is the forensic information or intelligence that will drive investigation forward," Det Ch Supt Murray said.

He said it was fair to say that Mr Donegan would have had a number of enemies.

Image caption Mr Donegan was collecting his 13-year-old son from school when he was killed

"There are a number of different groups and people who may have had an adverse interest in Jim Donegan, who wanted to hurt him," Det Ch Supt Murray said.

"They're all out there and they're all listening to every word I say and they're all trying to work out 'where are they, are they close, are they far, have they got the right people, have they not?'

"I'm sorry, we're not going to educate them in that matter."

At the time of the murder, reports linked Mr Donegan to the drugs trade, but Det Ch Supt Murray said he did not want to discuss this as it touched upon motive for the killing.

"Mr Donegan was known to the police, but I'm not going to go into the details of how he was known to the police," he said.

Det Ch Supt Murray said detectives were "making progress in this very difficult investigation".

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Police released an image of what the suspected gunman may look like

He added: "The direction that we are taking, the focus - the absolute ruthless focus - that we have in our lines of investigation are beginning to put a story together."

Earlier this week, a former Scotland Yard detective criticised the investigation.

John Devitt said he could not understand why police had not interviewed people who work in the industrial complex from where Mr Donegan ran his business.

But Det Ch Supt Murray said detectives had visited the premises at Drumbo, between Lisburn and Belfast. "within hours" of Mr Donegan's murder, spoke to one person there and acquired CCTV footage.

He said it had quickly been established that the focus of the investigation "not only in terms of the shooting itself, but in terms of the run-up to it, was not in the premises highlighted, that it in fact was west Belfast".

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The PSNI says its investigation into the father of two's murder is "progressing"

"There are thousands of people in an enquiry, we cannot speak to them all, so we have to choose where we put our resources," he added.

"Our message is out there, if somebody had information elsewhere then they can pick up the phone and contact us and we will go to them."

Last week, the Police Ombudsman's Office announced that it had started an investigation into how the PSNI dealt with information about a potential threat to Mr Donegan received before his murder.

The ombudsman is investigating whether the information was properly processed.

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