HE thought his mask would protect his identity from detectives hunting the gunman behind a brutal punishment shooting.
But the PSNI used social media and new facial mapping techniques to help convict Tiernan Porter for his role in a paramiltary-style shooting in west Belfast.
Porter, 21, was jailed on Monday for three years for the May 2010 attack.
He had pleaded guilty to a number of charges including wounding with intent and possession of a gun.
The police now hope the new technique at their disposal will bring others involved in th law of the jungle to justice.
PSNI Superintendent Glen Wright said they had now undertaken 150 reviews of paramiltary-style shootings and assaults.
He said that following the recovery of a firearm and its linking to the May 2010 assault through ballistics, further investigations ensued, which eventually helped to convict Porter, who is from west Belfast.
“The recovery of the firearm led to further investigations and we recovered a mobile phone we believed that was linked to the individual sentenced yesterday,” he said.
“On that mobile phone we recovered a number of photographs.
“There was a photograph of a masked man in combat clothing holding a weapon, that weapon being one in the same we believed as the weapon used in the assault.
“It had a distinctive after-market accessory fitted to it and we could view the serial number of the weapon from the photograph. Thereby through DNA and the usage of the telephone we could prove that the individual sentenced yesterday was the habitual user of the phone.
“Again using specialist facial mapping techniques, we were able to identify that the person behind the mask was indeed the individual before the court, thereby placing the gun in his hand.”