Man arrested in 1976 Belfast murder probe

Detectives hunting a gang who shot and killed a father of two in a random sectarian attack almost 40 years ago arrested a 55-year-old man today.

Paul McNally, 26, was gunned down as he left a bookmakers shop in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast in June 1976.

Police said they reopened the murder investigation after receiving new information.

The young plumber, who was married with a four-year-old daughter and five-month-old son, suffered serious injuries and died in hospital two days after the shooting.

He was among a group of men who were targeted by two gunmen as they walked out of Sean Graham’s bookmakers at the junction of Brompton Park and Crumlin Road.

A passing Army patrol opened fire as the gunmen fled the scene. They escaped in a yellow Ford Cortina car which had been hijacked in the Shankill Road area a few minutes before the attack. The getaway car was recovered in the same area after the attack.

This morning the suspect was taken to the PSNI serious crime suite in Antrim for further questioning.

Detective chief inspector Justyn Galloway, who is leading the new investigation, said he hoped more people would come forward, despite the passage of time.

He said: “I fully appreciate the challenges of renewing an investigation into events which took place more than 36 years ago but I believe there are people in the Ardoyne and elsewhere who can assist.

“This random sectarian attack took place on a busy Saturday afternoon in June. I would appeal to people who spoke with police at the time of the murder to make contact with the new investigation team. I would also ask those who may not have previously spoken to police to contact detectives investigating Paul McNally’s murder.

“Much has changed over the past 36 years in many aspects of life, in terms of policing, politics, personal outlooks and relationships – I would ask those who have information about Paul’s murder to think about what they know, do the right thing and talk to police.”

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