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Loyalist gangs blamed for murdering father-of-five

The paramilitaries are also in the frame for a series of other “punishment attacks”.

Image: RTÉ News

LOYALIST PARAMILITARIES ARE being blamed for a murder and a string of shootings and beatings in the Antrim and Coleraine areas.

Father of five Brian McIlhagga was murdered in January after he was dragged from a house by a masked gang and beaten and shot.  His friend and her four children were inside when the murder took place.

The PSNI are now linking his murder to two other shootings and another severe beating, all of which took place over the past fortnight.

Superintendent John Magill says police believe loyalist gangs could be behind the “punishment style attacks”:

“We cannot discard the possibility that these incidents are linked and a strong line of enquiry concerns the involvement of loyalist paramilitaries, I also believe that the people involved in these offences may be closely aligned to the UDA.”

Apart from the murder of McIlhagga, police are investigating links with a number of other recent attacks.

The shooting of a man in his 40s by masked men at a house in Ballymoney on 19 March.

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The shooting of a man in his 30s as he sat in a car in Bushmills on 17 March.

And, the assault of a 45-year-old man by men armed with baseball bats in Ballymoney on 15 March.

The PSNI are seeking the public’s help in identifying the attackers and are advising people that they can provide information anonymously through independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Read: Man dragged from house and shot dead with woman and children inside > 

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Rónán Duffy

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