Police car collectDETECTIVES are working on the theory that loyalist paramilitaries carried out last night’s brutal and cold blooded murder.

A man in his 40s was gunned on Monday night in front of a woman.

He has now been named locally as Brian McIlhagga.

Belfast Daily understands that he is originally from the Ballymena area and had only recently moved into the woman’s house she shares with her young children.

Police are checking a number of lines of inquiry including one relating to a row at the weekend in the town to see if it is connected to the murder.

The merciless gun attack happened outside a house at Riverview Park, Ballymoney, just before 10.30 pm.

Detectives from the PSNI’s Major Investigation Team believe up to three men were involved.

They stormed the home, took the Mr McIlhagga outside and then blasted him with a suspected shotgun.

A woman who lived in the house was assaulted. She was taken to hospital. Her injuries are not thought to be life threatening.

Justice Minister David Ford said the attack was “horrendous” and he understood there were children in the house at the time.

“Whoever carried this out must be condemned. There is no excuse for this kind of violence,” he said.

“I understand there were children in the house as well. It is horrendous with absolutely no justification.”

Mr Ford said there were no indications of a motive for the killing as yet.

Police officers continue to examine the scene of the shooting.

DUP MLA Mervyn Storey said the attack was “very sad news”.

“A family has been devastated and a lady is in hospital,” he said.

“It is in a very quiet residential area of Ballymoney. I have no doubt this will send shock through the community.”

Police have appealed to witnesses or anyone with information about the murder to contact detectives on the 101 number.

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