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Man arrested over 1976 sectarian killing ‘released unconditionally’

It was second arrest to be made this year in connection with the shooting of 26-year-old Paul McNally outside a bookmakers in north Belfast.

Image: PSNI Handout

Update 8.29pm

A MAN WHO was arrested in London in connection with a 37-year-old unsolved murder in Belfast has been released unconditionally.

Paul McNally – a 26-year-old father of two – was shot as he left a bookmakers in north Belfast on 5 June 1976 in what police believe was a random sectarian attack.

He died in hospital two days later.

Detectives from the PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch, assisted by officers from London’s Metropolitan Police, arrested the 60-year-old man this morning in the east London area. He was released without conditions, police confirmed.

It was the second arrest in connection with the case this year.

A 55-year-old man was also arrested in Belfast back in February in connection with the case, and later released pending a report being sent to the Public Prosecution Service.

The investigation was re-opened following the receipt of new information and a number of preliminary enquiries.


The victim and a number of other local men were leaving Sean Graham’s bookmakers at the junction of Brompton Park and Crumlin Road on the afternoon of 5 June when two gunmen opened fire on the group.

A passing army patrol then fired at the two attackers as the gunmen left the scene in a yellow Ford Cortina.

The getaway vehicle had been hijacked in the Shankill Road area a few minutes prior to the shooting. It was recovered in the same area after the attack.

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McNally was seriously injured by a gunshot wound and died two days later in hospital. Another man also sustained serious injuries in the shooting.

A plumber by trade, McNally was married and was a father to a four-year-old daughter and five-month-old son.

The PSNI is appealing for anyone with information to contact the investigation team on 028 9180 1507. Alternatively, anyone who would prefer to provide information anonymously can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Additional reporting by Sinéad O’Carroll

Read: Man arrested in relation to 1976 murder of father-of-two >

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Daragh Brophy

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