IT took three months, one week, one day and 12 hours for Jock Davison’s murder to be avenged in the most brutal of fashion.
Now the finger of suspicion is being point firmly at his old comrades in the Provisional IRA for blasting to death Kevin McGuigan.
The Provos had set up its own internal inquiry team to hunt down those it believed executed Davison, its former Belfast Brigade leader.
On a wet Tuesday morning on May 5 in the nearby Markets district of south Belfast, Davison left a corner shop in Welsh Street after collecting his morning paper. It was a routine he followed every day leaving his pattern open to be followed.
As he walked off the pavement and onto the street, his killer sleaked up behind him and shot him once to the back with a Russian officer’s Makarov pistol, felling his 6ft frame to the ground.
The killer then rolled Jock over onto his back, whispered something to him, before firing five more shots into his face.
On Wednesday night around 9 pm, as 50-year-old McGuigan got out of his car outside his home in Comber Court in the Short Strand district of east Belfast, two hooded men stepped out of the dusk shadows with automatic assault rifles commonly known as ‘The Widowmakers’.
They unleashed a fusilade of 7.62 mm high velocity rounds, hitting him six time in the back of the head and neck.
The father-of-nine hit the ground, his wife Dolores watching from the passenger seat as the killers then fled on foot to make good their escape.
Paramedics were called after neighbours tended to him on the cold street but he was pronounced dead on arrival at the Royal Victoria Hospital in west Belfast a short time later.
McGuigan had been a suspect in the murder of his one-time pal Davison from day one, even walking into a police station stating: “I hear you are looking for me.”
The two grew up in the Short Strand and were leading lights in Direct Action Against Drugs (DAAD) until they fell out several years ago over a neighbourly dispute.
Davison had McGuigan ‘kneecapped’ for his involvement in the dispute as a warning not to step out of line again.
Detectives from the PSNI’s Major Investigation Team (MIT) have now launched a murder investigation and have appealed for witnesses to come forward.
But already the ‘dogs on the street’ are pointing the finger of suspicion towards the Provisional IRA.
In unionist political circles, the Provos are also getting the blame from voters, heaping pressure on the DUP and UUP to walk away from Stormont as the murder would be a breach of the IRA’s ceasefire and the terms of its decommissioning.
Another line of inquiry for MIT detectives is that a shadowy republican group last week vowed to avenge Davison’s murder.
Styling itself as ‘Action Against Drugs’, the group warned that those involved in the murder of Davison would be hunted down and “executed”.
The group claimed to have been involved in previous shootings and bombings, and also the murder in Newtownabbey of Danny McKay.
The murder of Kevin McGuigan on Wednesday night prompted widespread condemnation across the political spectrum.
First Minister Peter Robinson said: “This was a brutal murder carried out in a residential area. Whatever the circumstances there can be no justification for such actions.
“Terrorism was always wrong and must be condemned. I know that the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland do not want to see this kind of activity back on our streets. I would hope that those responsible can be quickly identified and brought to justice.”
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness tweeted that he “unreservedly condemned this appalling deed”.
Sinn Fein councillor Niall O Donnghaile also condemned the shooting.
Mr O Donnghaile said: “I unreservedly condemn the fatal shooting of a local man near his home in the Short Strand tonight and I am saddened to learn that the man has died. This action has shocked the local community and my thoughts are with the family of the victim.
“There can be no place for actions like this in our society. The community here rejects any attempt by any armed group to turn the clock back to the past.”