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Sunday 10 December 2023 Dublin: 8°C

Fresh appeal issued for information on 'horrific murder by cowards' of 42-year-old father-of-five

Brian McIlhagga was murdered while visiting a friend in Co Antrim in January 2015.

mcilhagga Brian McIlhagga

A FRESH APPEAL has been made for information regarding the 2015 murder of 42-year-old father-of-five Brian McIlhagga, who was killed while visiting a friend two years ago today.

McIlhagga, a plasterer, had paid a visit to a 33-year-old female friend in Riverview Park, Ballymoney, in Co Antrim on 5 January 2015. While there, he was beaten by a masked gang and then shot in the leg outside the house.

He died from his injuries at the scene. Four children under the age of 13 were present in the house for the duration of the incident, while the woman McIlhagga had been visiting was also assaulted.

Previously, investigators said they were close to bringing those responsible before the courts, but that the alleged involvement of loyalist paramilitaries in the killing may be discouraging people with information from talking to police.

A number of arrests have previously been made, but no charges have ever been brought.

‘Vicious and brutal’

Today, the officer leading the investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Michael Harvey, said: “This was a vicious and brutal attack on a man who was enjoying a visit with a friend when his life was brought to a savage end.”

We have made arrests in this investigation but, no one has been charged with this horrific act.

“The devastation on Mr McIlhagga’s loved ones and his circle of friends as a result of this horrific murder by cowards has been unimaginable,” Harvey added.

“I believe there are people out there who have information about the men behind the masks, and those involved in this murder. I would urge those people to think about the information they hold, and to do the right thing. I urge them to think: ‘what if this was your loved one?’.”

No matter how small or insignificant you think this information is, please come forward – it could make a difference and bring those responsible for the murder of Brian McIlhagga before the courts, and provide some much needed justice for him and his loved ones.

It’s believed that the attackers made off along a walkway running along Riverview Park in the direction of the town’s train station in the aftermath of the killing.

“I want to again appeal to anyone who saw or heard anything in the Riverview Park area between 10pm and 11pm on Monday, 5 January 2015, to contact police,” said Harvey.

“I want to hear from anyone who saw men or vehicles moving in and around the area. Anyone with any information can contact detectives at Maydown police station on the non-emergency number 101. Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime,” he concluded.

Read: Alan Hutch appears in court charged with stabbing brother Ross Hutch

Read: Were you affected by Storm Eleanor? Emergency funds are being made available

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