Malcolm McKeown (54) shot dead in Waringstown

Malcolm McKeown
Malcolm McKeown

The man murdered in Waringstown has been named locally.

He was Malcolm McKeown from the Co Down village and sources say the killing may have been part of a criminal feud.

The scene in the village of Waringstown, Co Down, where a man has been shot dead at a petrol station

The scene in the village of Waringstown, Co Down, where a man has been shot dead at a petrol station

Police confirmed a man has died following the shooting incident last night (Monday 19th August).

Detectives from PSNI’s Major Investigation Team have now launched a murder investigation following the discovery of his body in a car in the Main Street area of the village just before 9pm.

Detective Chief Inspector Michelle Shaw said: “The man was found in his vehicle, which was parked at the rear of a filling station on Main Street in the village.

“Our enquiries are at a very early stage and I am appealing for anyone with information that could potentially assist our investigation to please get in touch by calling 101. Or 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.”

Malcolm McKeown (54), from Meadowvale in Waringstown had been no stranger to the court system and had been implicated in a number of murders, including husband and wife Jacqueline and Hugh McGeough who were killed in their Legahory Court, Craigavon home in 2011. However the charges against him were dropped.

Malcolm has two brothers Trevor and Clifford who were involved in the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF). Both brothers had convictions for sectarian murders.

They had close ties with LVF leader Billy Wright, known as King Rat, who was shot dead by the INLA in the Maze Prison in 1997.

Sources indicated that Malcolm McKeown had close links with a rapidly growing drugs trade, particularly in the Lurgan and Portadown areas.

He had appeared before the courts on a number of occasions including when he was tried for the murders of husband and wife Hugh and Jacqueline McGeough in Craigavon.

The murder charges against him and another man were later dropped.

His brother Clifford McKeown was convicted of the murder of Catholic taxi driver Michael McGoldrick in Lurgan. Mr McGoldrick was shot dead during the Drumcree standoff in July 1996.

At his trial it was described Clifford McKeown carried out the murder as a “birthday present” for Billy Wright.

Malcolm’s other brother Trevor was convicted of the 1997 murder of Catholic Bernadette Martin.

The 18-year-old was shot four times in the head at point-blank range as she lay sleeping with her 19-year-old Protestant boyfriend at his family home in Aghalee.

Clifford and Trevor McKeown received lengthy prison sentences but both were released early under the terms of the Belfast Agreement.

SDLP Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly has said that the local community is in shock following the murder,

The SDLP’s Justice Spokesperson has appealed for anyone who saw anything in the area at 10pm to come forward to police.

She said: “The local community is in shock this evening after the violent murder of a man in a shooting in Waringstown. This is a quiet, settled village and people are appalled that violence has been brought onto their streets.

“I would appeal to anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious in the area at around 10pm this evening to come forward and assist police with their investigation.”

DUP Upper Bann MLA Carla Lockhart also condemned a shooting incident and has called on anyone with information to come forward to the police.

“It is shocking at anytime for someone to be shot in the constituency but more so in somewhere like Waringstown. It is a generally quiet village with a thriving population and I would condemn this in the strongest terms.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the family caught up in this incident and would appeal to anyone with information to come forward to the police. They can be contacted anonymously via the confidential Crimestoppers hotline or on the 101 service.”

Alliance Councillor Eóin Tennyson and party Justice spokesperson Stewart Dickson MLA condemned those behind the killing.

“My sympathies go out to the loved ones of the deceased after this outrageous act of violence. If anyone has any information on this, I ask them to take it to police immediately.

“There is no place for guns on our streets,” added Mr Tennyson.

“Today alone, we have seen an attempted murder of police officers, a gun fired over a coffin and now a man shot dead.”

Sinn Fein MLA John O’Dowd said the shooting had left the local community “absolutely shocked”.

He added: “This is a very quiet area and people are appalled by what has happened.

“A PSNI investigation is now underway and that must be allowed to proceed.

“I would encourage anyone with information on what happened to bring it forward to the police.”

Ulster Unionist Cllr Kyle Savage strongly condemned the murder. “We do not need this in society. We need a zero tolerance to these criminal gangs.

“Resources must be given to the police to tackle criminality within society.”