Murder victim’s widow ‘scared of bumping into husband’s killers’

Joanne McGibbon is hoping to be allocated a new home outside Belfast by the Housing Executive
Joanne McGibbon is hoping to be allocated a new home outside Belfast by the Housing Executive

The heartbroken widow of Michael McGibbon – who died after a brutal paramilitary-style shooting – is planning on leaving her family home in Ardoyne.

Joanne McGibbon, 33, has told friends she cannot bear to stay in the house she shared with her husband, who died in her arms after being shot just yards from their front door by dissident republicans.

PACEMAKER BELFAST  18/4/2016
Belfast murder victim Michael McGibbon and his wife Joanne

PACEMAKER BELFAST 18/4/2016 Belfast murder victim Michael McGibbon and his wife Joanne

Ardoyne parish priest Father Gary Donegan told the News Letter that Mrs McGibbon now “lives in fear” of bumping into Michael’s killers.

He added there were “too many memories for her in the house”.

The cleric said Mrs McGibbon – a nurse at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast – is “traumatised by what happened and she has it in her head she will meet the very people who perpetrated what happened to Michael”.

“Even bringing the wee girl to school is going back to, or past, the very spot where it happened,” added Fr Donegan.

“It is mental trauma.”

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Mrs McGibbon said: “The Housing Executive is trying to get us a house outside the city.

“I just hope it is soon and we can leave here and start again.

“We are frightened here and we can’t stay.”

She added: “To us, Michael was the best and bravest daddy and husband in the world. He would have done anything for the kids and me.”

Last month, in an open letter, Mrs McGibbon thanked members of the Protestant community for their support since her husband’s death.

The heartfelt message was personally delivered to the Rev Colin Duncan at the Woodvale Methodist manse.

“I just want to thank you all for the cards and support you have shown to my husband Michael and my family during this difficult time,” it said.

“I have lots of friends who are Protestants and other religions and they all mean a lot to me.”

Mr McGibbon, a father-of-four, was shot three times in the legs by dissident republicans at Butler Place in Ardoyne on April 15 – 24 hours after two men visited his house in north Belfast to threaten him.

He died in the early hours of April 16.

After the shooting his wife Joanne tried in vain to save the 33-year-old as he bled profusely from an artery. He was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital but died from his injuries.

A 34-year-old man was arrested for the murder, but he was later released without charge.