MAN ARRESTED IN LONDON OVER 1976 NORTH BELFAST MURDER

Paul McNally was shot dead on June 5, 1976 in a sectarian attack. Second suspect arrested in London

Paul McNally was shot dead on June 5, 1976 in a sectarian attack. Second suspect arrested in London

DETECTIVES have arrested a 60-year-old man in London as part of a fresh probe into a 1976 north Belfast murder.

Paul McNally was fatally wounded and another man seriously injured in a sectarian gun attack outside a bookmaker’s shop on the Crumlin Road.

Police believe two gunmen raked a group of men with gunfire before escaping in a hijacked car.

The 26-year-old victim died several days later in hospital.

On Tuesday morning, the PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch, assisted by the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Unit, arrested a 60-year-old man at an address in London.

He is currently being held at London police station for questioning.

Mr McNally, 26, a plumber, was married with a four-year-old daughter and a five-month-old son.

The investigation was re-opened after police received fresh information.

In February, a 55-year-old man was arrested and later released pending a report being sent to the Public Prosecution Service.

Police believe a fresh inquiry could be successful.

Detective Chief Inspector Justyn Galloway, the officer in charge of the investigation, said: “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.”

The victim and a number of other local men were leaving Sean Graham’s bookmakers at the junction of Brompton Park and Crumlin Road on that fateful afternoon when two gunmen opened fire on the group.

DCI Justyn Galloway appeals for information on Paul McNally murder

DCI Justyn Galloway appeals for information on Paul McNally murder

As the gunmen left the scene in a yellow Ford Cortina at about 2.40pm, a passing army patrol opened fire on the two attackers.

The getaway vehicle had been hijacked in the Shankill Road area a few minutes prior to the shooting. It was recovered in the same area after the attack.

McNally was seriously injured by a gunshot wound and died two days later in hospital. Another man also sustained serious injuries in the shooting.

McNally, a plumber by trade, was married and was a father to a four-year-old daughter and five-month-old son.

Added DCI Galloway: “Police have re-opened this investigation following the receipt of information and a number of preliminary enquiries.

“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.”

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.

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