Northern Ireland

PSNI plea on third anniversary of Brian McIlhagga murder

Brian McIlhagga Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Brian McIlhagga died after he was beaten and shot by a masked gang in 2015

The family of a man who died after he was shot in the leg three years ago suffered "unimaginable devastation" and they need justice, police have said.

Brian McIlhagga was killed by a gang of masked men in Ballymoney, County Antrim on 5 January, 2015 but no-one has yet been charged with his murder.

On his third anniversary, the PSNI has renewed its appeal for information about "the men behind the masks".

They previously said the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) was involved.

Mr McIlhagga, who was 42, was visiting a friend at a house in Riverview Park when the gang came in, beat him and took him outside and shot him in the leg.


A woman and four children under the age of 13 were in the house at the time and were left traumatised by the attack.

The woman was also assaulted by the gang but her injuries were not life-threatening.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption A child who was in the house at the time saw the victim lying in the garden

"This was a vicious and brutal attack on a man who was enjoying a visit with a friend when his life was brought to a savage end," said the officer leading the murder inquiry, Det Ch Insp Michael Harvey.

"The devastation on Mr McIlhagga's loved ones and his circle of friends as a result of this horrific murder by cowards has been unimaginable."

Mr McIlhagga was originally from Ballymena and had five children.

A number of people have been arrested during the three-year murder investigation but no charges have been brought.

"I believe there are people out there who have information about the men behind the masks, and those involved in this murder," the officer said.

"I would urge those people to think about the information they hold, and to do the right thing. I urge them to think 'what if this was your loved one?'

"No matter how small or insignificant you think this information is, please come forward - it could make a difference and bring those responsible for the murder of Brian McIlhagga before the courts, and some much needed justice for Brian McIlhagga and his loved ones."

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