Police probe link to Turf Lodge mass street brawl

Renegade gang member shot dead young dad

Kieran McManus was murdered outside Domino's pizza in Kennedy Way Kieran McManus was murdered outside Domino's pizza in Kennedy Way
By Staff Reporter

THE man who carried out the brutal shotgun murder of Kieran McManus is a member of a renegade criminal gang led by expelled INLA members, we’ve been told.

The 26-year-old was gunned down on Saturday night outside the Kennedy Way branch of Dominos Pizza where he was working as a delivery driver.

Witnesses say the masked killer called Kieran by name before shooting him at close range twice in the back as his friends looked on in horror.  He was pronounced dead at the Royal Victoria Hospital before his family had a chance to arrive.

PSNI detectives are investigating a link to a bloody brawl in Turf Lodge three years ago when Kieran was involved in fighting among a large number of men and one man was injured with a samurai sword. Friends of the McManus family told us Kieran was not present at the oubreak of the two-hour long running battle in February 2010 but was called upon to come to the aid of his brother who had been accosted by three carloads of men.

We can also reveal that Kieran was targeted for murder in April 2010 when he was given compassionate bail while being held on charges connected to the brawl. He was released to  attend the funeral of his father who tragically drowned while fishing at Leathemstown Reservoir near Stoneyford. The murder bid was abandoned at the behest of another former senior INLA member in order to spare the family at a time when it was already grieving.

A reliable source has told the Andersonstown News that reports circulating that Kieran was killed  for extorting money from drug dealers and using the name of dissident republican groups are mere conjecture.

“The triggerman  has in recent years fallen in with a band of ex-INLA career criminals, although he himself is not ex-INLA,” said our source. “He has been involved in drugs and extortion along with these very well-known criminals over the past few years, and some of the cases were well publicised.

“The band of thugs, who were all expelled from the INLA for their activity, are involved in a wide range of criminal activity including drugs, extortion, tiger kidnappings and now murder. It is the involvement with this grouping that has provided the killer with the circumstances to allow this killing to take place.”

While the court case in relation to the Turf Lodge fight – for which Kieran received a suspended sentence – only wrapped up last month, there is reason to believe that the murder had been planned from before Christmas.

The car used in the killing, a dark red Vauxhall Astra, is believed to have been stolen before Christmas and not seen again until it was burnt out in Denewood Park in Andersontown straight after the murder.

Kieran’s family has also been targeted in the past.  His family home in Norglen Parade was petrol bombed in the weeks after the Turf Lodge brawl, forcing the family to flee to Crumlin where, just a few weeks ago, a car was burnt out outside his mother’s house.

Making an appeal for information, the PSNI’s Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Karen Baxter, described the attack as “ruthless”.

“At around 11.20pm an armed man got out of a car and shot Kieran a number of times at close range as he was placing a pizza delivery into the rear of his car,” she said.  “The man got back into the car before making off from the scene. A maroon coloured Vauxhall Astra believed to be linked to the murder was found burned out a short time later in the Denewood Park area of the city.

“We are specifically appealing for anyone who may have been in the area around this time and who may have witnessed any specific activity or vehicles in the area. We are particularly appealing for anyone who may have witnessed a maroon coloured Vauxhall Astra car seen leaving the area around the time of the murder or who may have seen it in the Denewood Park area. What happened in Kennedy Way was a brutal and ruthless attack which has no place in society. We are keeping an open mind as to the motive at this time and we are working on a number of lines of enquiry.

“I am appealing for information and police are grateful to those elected and community representatives who have already urged people to come forward to police. Those responsible for this ruthless murder will only be brought before the courts and put behind bars if people with information work with police.

“We are keen to hear from anyone who may have any information which can assist us and we would urge members of the public to contact detectives on 0845 600 8000 or alternatively anyone wishing to pass information anonymously can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 1111.”

 

 

Youth worker who adored his young son

CLOSE friends of the family of Kieran McManus have described him as a decent lad who was dedicated to his six-year-old son, also named Kieran, whom he idolised.

A qualified youth worker, Kieran (26) was a regular at Holy Trinity Youth Centre up until he got caught up in a mass brawl in Turf Lodge in February 2010 – an incident that PSNI detectives are investigating in relation to the killing.

He lost his father in a tragic fishing accident in April 2010, an incident that was reported in the Andersonstown News at the time. Michael Donnelly, a father-of-six, died while fishing with his two sons after he fell into the Leathemstown Reservoir.  He was buried from Turf Lodge’s Holy Trinity, the same church his son will be buried from today (Thursday).

Speaking to the Andersonstown News yesterday, several people close to the McManus family described Kieran as “a fantastic and dedicated father”.

“He lived for his son Kieran,” said one friend.  “They were best friends and he just idolised that wee fella.  He didn’t deserve what happened to him and the poor child certainly doesn’t deserve to have lost his father.”

Another denied claims that Kieran was a troublemaker involved in crime and anti-social behaviour.

“The only thing anyone had on Kieran was what happened in the streets of Turf Lodge three years ago,” she said.  “There was no feud, he was only backing his brother up, protecting him, and now he has been killed.

“People are saying that Kieran terrorised this community but he was on curfew for the past few years so how could he have done that? He was at home in Crumlin every night for 9pm.  His family was terrorised and he was terrorised and now he has been killed.  It’s just so sad.”

On their Facebook page, the Holy Trinity Youth Centre paid tribute to the young father.

“It is with absolute sadness that we have learned of the violent and terrible death of Kieran McManus, who was a member of the Youth Centre for many years, and we extend our deepest sympathies to the McManus and Donnelly families at this time. Rest in Peace Kieran.”

Kieran’s funeral takes place today (Thursday) at 1pm at Holy Trinity church in Turf Lodge.  The Requiem Mass will be followed by burial at Milltown Cemetery.

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