Appeal for those protecting father of four’s killers to talk to police

Undated handout file photo issued by Police Service of Northern Ireland of Michael McGibbon as detectives urging those protecting the killers of the father-of-four who died in a paramilitary-style attack to give them up. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.

Undated handout file photo issued by Police Service of Northern Ireland of Michael McGibbon as detectives urging those protecting the killers of the father-of-four who died in a paramilitary-style attack to give them up. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.

Detectives have urged those protecting the killers of a father-of-four who died in a paramilitary-style attack to give them up.

Officers also stressed the need to identify two men who called at Michael McGibbon’s Belfast home to threaten him the day before he was shot.

The 33-year-old taxi driver was shot three times in the legs in an alleyway close to his house in the Ardoyne area in April last year. He died in hospital the following day.

Dissident republicans were being blamed for carrying out what was apparently intended as a so-called “punishment shooting”.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Detective Chief Inspector Alan Dickson said: “We are grateful for the support and information we have already received from the community, but there are people living locally who know exactly who was involved.

“They are protecting murderers and we need to hear from them.”

The former chef’s wife Joanne, a nurse, rushed to her husband after the attack and desperately tried to save his life.

On the first anniversary of the death, Mr Dickson issued a fresh appeal for information to catch those responsible.

“We continue to carry out a thorough and painstaking investigation into all of the circumstances surrounding Michael’s tragic murder,” he said.

“It was a particularly brutal and callous attack during which Michael was shot a number of times in the leg in an alleyway in a densely populated residential area.

“Easter is traditionally a time for families to spend time together and I would urge everyone to spare a thought for Michael’s family who have been deprived of a cherished husband and father.

“One year on, and the McGibbons are still coming to terms with their grief, pain and loss.

“They deserve to see his killers brought to justice and pay for their ruthless actions.

“There is nothing that can justify or explain the senselessness of this attack, which bears all the hallmarks of a paramilitary murder.

“He was a man with no criminal record, no apparent criminal connections or associations.

“Those who carried it out have no legitimacy in this community and today I would like to mark the first anniversary of Michael’s killing by appealing to local people to help us find them. Help us bring justice to the McGibbon family.”

He added: “I am appealing in particular about two males who called at the McGibbon home late in the evening of April 14 2016.

“These men asked Mr McGibbon to step out of the house. When he refused, they stated that they would be back.

“The first male is described as in his early 20s, slim and was wearing a red hooded top, baseball cap and had a scarf over his face.

“The second is described as in his late teens, wearing a grey hooded top, baseball cap and also had a scarf over his face.

“I am asking these men, or anyone who knows their identity, to get in touch.”