Suspect held over 1976 sectarian murder

Paul McNally
Paul McNally

A 55-YEAR-OLD man has been arrested over a suspected sectarian murder in Belfast almost 37 years ago.

Paul McNally and another local man were shot as they left Sean Graham’s bookmakers at the junction of Brompton Park and Crumlin Road on June 5, 1976.

Police believe it was a random sectarian attack.

It is believed two gunmen opened fire on a group of men who were leaving the bookmakers. As the gunmen made off from the scene, a passing Army patrol opened fire on the two attackers.

The gunmen made off in a yellow Ford Cortina car. This vehicle had been hijacked in the Shankill Road area a few minutes before the shooting and was recovered in the same area after the attack.

Paul McNally and another man sustained serious injuries. Paul, a 26 year old plumber, died two days later in hospital. Paul was married and had a four-year-old daughter and a five-month-old son.

The officer in charge of the renewed investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Justyn Galloway, said: “Police have re-opened this investigation following the receipt of information and a number of preliminary enquiries. We have made an arrest and a suspect has been taken to the Serious Crime Suite at Antrim police station for questioning.

“I fully appreciate the challenges of renewing an investigation into events which took place more than 36 years ago but I believe there are people in the Ardoyne and elsewhere who can assist.

“This random sectarian attack took place on a busy Saturday afternoon in June. I would appeal to people who spoke with police at the time of the murder to make contact with the new investigation team. I would also ask those who may not have previously spoken to police to contact detectives investigating Paul McNally’s murder.

“Much has changed over the past 36 years in many aspects of life, in terms of policing, politics, personal outlooks and relationships – I would ask those who have information about Paul’s murder to think about what they know, do the right thing and talk to police.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the investigation team on 028 9180 1507.

Alternatively, anyone who would prefer to provide information anonymously can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.