22 April 2005

Belfast Telegraph

Murder police are attacked
Officers petrol-bombed at scene of shooting


By Deborah McAleese
22 April 2005

Police at the scene of a horrific murder in Newry were attacked with petrol bombs and bricks.

The attack happened shortly after 4pm yesterday as police were guarding the scene of Jonathan Graham's murder in the mainly nationalist Derrybeg estate.

A gang of youths threw petrol bombs, bricks and bottles at the officers, who were forced to don protective headgear.

Police are today questioning a man about the killing of Mr Graham (20), who was gunned down by a masked man as he parked his car close to his Ardcarne Park home early yesterday morning.

And it has emerged that Mr Graham's mother is currently recovering from surgery in the Royal Victoria Hospital - the same hospital where her son died.

A friend of Mr Graham's narrowly escaped death after shots were fired through a window of his house at nearby Parkhead Crescent, missing him by inches, at around the same time of the murder.

And there have also been reports of further shots being fired at another house in the area.

Although police have not yet connected the incidents, a number of security sources believe the shootings were a result of ongoing inter-estate rivalry.

The officer heading the inquiry, Detective Chief Inspector Tim Hanley, of the Murder Investigation Team, said police will be "considering all possible motives in relation to this murder."

Meanwhile, Dominic Bradley, SDLP MLA for Newry and Armagh, said that the shootings were the outcome of a problem that had been brewing for some time within the area.

Mr Bradley said that a few months earlier, a number of residents in the area had contacted him and told him they were very concerned that something bad was going to happen.

He said: "The residents told me they were fearful that trouble could develop within the area. Unfortunately that trouble had not gone away."

Murder squad detectives have set up a major incident room at Ardmore police station in Newry.

Anyone with information has been asked to contact police on 3026 5500.

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