UVF murder bid victim and care worker Jemma McGrath

UVF murder bid victim and care worker Jemma McGrath

DETECTIVES investigating a UVF murder bid on care worker Jemma McGrath last month have arrested a suspect.

The 28-year-old man was arrested on Thursday morning in the Ballymacarrett area of east Belfast.

During the dawn swoop, a number of items were seized for forensic examination.

The suspect was whisked away to the serious crime suite in Antrim for questioning by detectives from the Serious Crime Branch.

Ms McGrath, 24, was shot five times in the lower abdomen, hips and knees in the attack at her house in Lord Street Mews off the Beersbridge Road.

At the time police said they were treating the shooting as attempted murder.

The victim has been left fighting for her life in hospital since the murder bid.

Ms McGrath is reported to be a former partner of a senior east Belfast UVF figure.

Sources in the east of the city said paramilitaries had been spreading malicious rumours about Ms McGrath just prior to her shooting.

And they said older members of the organisation were struggling to control younger members involved in drug-dealing, racketering and violence.

Police first warned Ms McGrath of a loyalist threat on her life last July.

She subsequently moved to north Belfast with a partner but when that relationship ended a fortnight ago she returned to the east of the city, where she was staying with a friend.

Ms McGrath is said to be considering leaving Northern Ireland when she is fit to leave hospital.

She was confronted in Lord Street Mews and shot in the stomach before the gunmen fled down an alleyway to Trillick Street.

Neighbours spoke of hearing her screams of agony and said many people in the street felt terrorised.

Ms McGrath is being treated at the Royal Victoria Hospital for her injuries.

Detectives said they are following “several lines of inquiry”.

Councillor John Kyle of the PUP – which is the political wing of the UVF – said: “This shows new levels of brutality on the part of thugs in east Belfast.

“It is an absolute disgrace what is going on.”


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