Jim Donegan murdered outside school gates in west Belfast on Tuesday

THE PSNI believe the INLA shot dead wealthy drug baron Jim Donegan four months ago in west Belfast.

And a senior detective hunting the lone hitman told viewers of this morning’s Crimewatch Roadshow programme that he believed the INLA had been trying to murder Donegan for days prior to the assassination.

BBC 1 viewers watched fresh CCTV footage of the killer in the vicinity of the Glen Road on November 29, 2018 – just five days before the murder took place.

The killer is seen wearing a high vis vest, carrying a black bag over his shoulder and mingling among school children.

Police believe he is the same terrorist who shot dead the 43-year-old as he sat in his flame-read Porsche Panamera car on December 4, 2018 as he waited to pick up his son from a local school.

“This is CCTV footage from 29 November and I believe this is the same person who murdered Jim,” said DCI Montgomery.

“He waits for 20 minutes amongst the schoolchildren, waiting for Jim to arrive to pick up his son.

“I believe if Jim had arrived there to pick up his son that day, he would have been murdered [that day].”

The hitman mingles among school children on November 29 last year waiting for Jim Donegan to arrive in his Porsche Panamera car to pick up his son

Asked who he believed carried out the murder, DCI Montgomery of the PSNI’s Major Investigation Team said it was republican paramilitaries, namely the INLA.

DCI Montgomery described the gunman as in his late 30s or early 40s, who possibly walked with a limp and may have an underlying medical condition.

The cold blooded execution was carried out by a lone gunman in front of hundreds of innocent school children and their parents.

The gun used in the assassination – believed to have been a handgun – has not yet been recovered.

Detective Chief Inspector Pete Montgomery from PSNI’s Major Investigation Team said:

Jim Donegan shot eight times as he sat in his flame red Porsche Panamera car last December in west Belfast

“I have made a number of appeals to the public for information, issued CCTV footage and an evofit of the suspect since the lone gunman shot Mr Donegan just as hundreds of children were pouring out of the three schools – many of them witnessing the murder of the 43 year old father of two.

“Jim’s son was spared from this thankfully but only by a few seconds.

“I would continue to urge anyone who has any information, or who witnessed the murder, to contact the police on 101.

“Or if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Police released Evofit last month of suspected gunman who shot dead Jim Donegan

A number of men were arrested under the Terrorism Act over the murder but were later released unconditionally.

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