Sunday 18 March 2018

Takeaway delivery driver shot dead in car had cheated death twice before

Dan Murray
Dan Murray

Colin O'Carroll

A hot food delivery driver targeted twice previously by dissident republicans was shot dead in his car last night.

The fatal shooting happened in the Divis area of west Belfast shortly before 10.30pm.

Police at the scene of the shooting in Divis area of west Belfast
Police at the scene of the shooting in Divis area of west Belfast

It was reported by local people that the man was hit in the neck by his assailant.

He was rushed to hospital in a critical condition, but did not survive despite efforts to save him.

He was targeted while sitting in his dark-coloured Ford Focus car in Lady Street after possibly being lured to the area by a bogus fast food delivery order.

The driver's seat and seatbelt were seen to be heavily bloodstained by witnesses.

The victim was named locally as Daniel Murray (54).

Police confirmed the death late last night.

Police at the scene of the shooting in Divis area of west Belfast
Police at the scene of the shooting in Divis area of west Belfast

It was the third shooting in Belfast in the space of less than 24 hours.

Two other young men were wounded in the other two attacks.

West Belfast Sinn Fein MP Paul Maskey said his thoughts and sympathies were with the dead man's family.

He visited the scene, where police informed him the man had passed away.

He said: "This a sad night for Belfast and for society with a number of shootings across the city.

"There will be a family grieving tonight and my sympathies go out to them.

"These types of attacks serve no purpose and must stop."

Mr Murray was previously targeted in a gun attack almost exactly a year ago.

He was shot in the face by dissident republican vigilantes in 2015 near his north Belfast home.

Mr Murray, who was originally from the Turf Lodge area of west Belfast, said at the time he had been accused of being a drug dealer - which he denied - and would have to flee his home.

As he recovered from that shooting, he said the attack was an attempt to execute him.

"It was one face shot, one head shot. They didn't aim for anywhere else," he said.

"I've no idea why - there was no warning.

"I've been given a second chance and I want to find out why.

"They are accusing me of drug dealing and I want them to prove it.

"They've branded me a drug dealer - and I'm not." Mr Murray described the previous shooting in detail.

"They had a 9-mill gun. It was an execution (attempt) - they came straight in and 'bang'.

"They didn't hesitate, they didn't give any warnings. I turned around and the bullet went into my face.

"It hit my jaw, hit the bone and went right down and into my shoulder.

"I staggered when they shot me, I thought they had shot me in the throat at first and I could feel most of the pain in my shoulder. There was a lot of blood."

Mr Murray discharged himself early from hospital after surgery, saying he was going to contact the various paramilitary groups to ask why he was being targeted.

He had been wounded in a Continuity IRA gun attack before last year's murder attempt.

He claimed that was an extortion bid, and again denied he sold drugs. He challenged the paramilitaries to produce any evidence of criminal activity.

West Belfast SDLP MLA Alex Attwood condemned those behind all the shootings.

He said: "I am appalled by the events of the last 24 hours in areas of west and north Belfast.

"Those behind these deplorable shootings must be condemned outright by us all.

"We must demonstrate the same resolve we did in the past - resist those who carry out these atrocities, who use guns to reject Irish democracy and ignore the rule of law.

"I urge anyone with information about these shootings to share it with the police so those responsible can be taken off our streets."

Mr Murray leaves a partner and a young son behind.

His wife died of cancer several years ago.

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