EXCLUSIVE: THE dissident republican killers of drug dealer Danny McKay laughed into the night seconds after blasting him to death.
Belfast Daily can reveal that as the two killers fled his Newtownabbey home a witness heard one of them gloat: That is one less drug dealer to worry about.
Then the two-man Oglaigh na hEireann hit squad then jumped into a waiting stolen Volkswagen Bora which sped off in the direction of west Belfast.
It was later found burned out in the Lower Falls area.
Last night, three people – aged 28, 41 and 50 – who were being quizzed by PSNI murdersquad detectives about the savage killing were released without charge.
Said a source: “The gunmen were laughing as they left Danny’s house.
“One turned to the other and said: ‘That’s one less drug dealer to worry about’. They were boasting about what they had done. It was sickening.”
Mr McKay, 36, was shot dead in his Longlands home last Thursday night at least six times from an automatic firearm, possibly a rifle.
His partner Laura had just gone to the shop when the ONH gunmen burst in and raked him with automatic gunfire as he lounged on the sofa.
Minutes earlier he had taken a call on a mobile phone from someone want to set up a meeting t0 resolve a dispute with ONH.
Two days before he was gunned down, ONH had given him 24 hours to leave the country or be shot dead.
A source told Belfast Daily: “He was scared but there was no way he was going to leave the country because of them.
“His attitude was ‘stuff them. They are not putting me out of my own country.”
The police had been aware that he had been under threat of death from ONH. Detectives believe the motive to his murder lies a dispute between him and ONH.
Last night, the victim’s father Danny McKay snr, said the whole family had been left “totally devastated” by his son’s cold-blooded murder.
Said Mr McKay: “The murder was carried out by evil people who’ve no regard for human life. What can be worse than murder?” he asked.
“I would rather see him in court charged with so-called drug offences instead of identifying my big son in the morgue. How horrific that was!
“My son was a big gentleman. Our family is totally heartbroken. People said Danny boy was a drug dealer but he was our big son, brother and father to his daughter of 12 and loving partner of Laura and her children.
“Let’s hope and pray that these killers are caught quickly and taken off the streets before somebody else’s son is murdered as well and let our family grieve over the loss of our big son.”