19 May 2005


Residents petitioned nurse killer to leave

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A young Poleglass mother who organised a petition to have a West Belfast man who was this week found guilty of murdering a nurse in the Channel Islands moved out of the estate, says a “chill went down the spine” of everyone living in Poleglass when they heard about the killing.

Paul Greenan embarked on a reign of terror in Poleglass before people power finally forced him out. However, in March last year the law finally caught up with the 19-year-old – who was described in court by his defence team as a psychopath – when he murdered nurse Tracey Burns in Jersey.

Neighbours’ fear of local killer

Close shave: residents mobilised to get psycho thrown out after knife horror

A mother-of-four who organised a 119-signature petition to have a future killer moved out of a West Belfast estate has expressed relief that he is now behind bars.

In 2003 Cathy Randal knocked on her neighbours’ doors in Poleglass collecting names of residents demanding that Paul ‘Dusty’ Greenan move out of the area.

In a Jersey court on Monday, 19-year-old Greenan was found guilty of the brutal March 2004 murder of nurse Tracey Burns on the island.
When Mrs Randal heard about the killing she says a “chill went down the spine of everyone living in Poleglass”.

The teenage murderer lived in Poleglass until his 17th birthday, and for some time before he fled he had conducted a reign of terror in the area. In one frightening incident he held a knife to a young mother’s throat and threatened to kill her. Greenan was responsible for numerous attacks, thefts and arson incidents throughout Poleglass.

Speaking to the Andersonstown News Cathy Randal said Greenan had the entire estate terrorised.

“He threatened people with knives, he murdered residents’ pets, he smashed windows, committed burglaries and stole cars,” recalled the young mum.

“He was a walking crime wave and I am convinced that if he had remained in Belfast he would have murdered someone in the city.

“I had a couple of confrontations with him. He pulled a knife on my best friend, I guess given what happened later she is lucky to be alive.”
During his adolescent years in Belfast, Greenan was convicted of 21 criminal offences and received 14 suspended jail terms.

His convictions ranged from assault to theft and arson.

In 2003, fed-up with having a one-man crime-wave in their midst, residents of the Poleglass estate marched on Greenan’s Glenkeen home with a 119-signature petition calling on the family to move out of the area.
A short time later Greenan and his mother relocated to the Whitewell district of North Belfast. The family said they were being intimidated by the IRA, a claim denied by republicans and Poleglass residents.

Former neighbour Cathy explained that the only people who wanted Greenan out of West Belfast were his neighbours.

She said, “More than 100 people signed a petition asking them to move. We also put our case to the Housing Executive telling them that if Greenan stayed in the area, 119 decent, law-abiding people would be demanding a move to a different area.”

Within months of relocating to North Belfast, Greenan burned down a flat in Fairyknowe Park.

It was after this incident that he moved to Jersey to spend time with his father.

The West Belfast teenager had been living on the island for less than three months before he killed Tracey Burns.

Throughout his five-day trial Greenan’s defence team claimed he was a psychopath and could not be held fully responsible for his actions.
In late 2003 he had attended a psychiatric hospital in Co Antrim after a failed attempt to hang himself.

Greenan’s attack on Tracey Burns was so severe that he left imprints of his boots on her face. He also attempted to rape the nurse, before stealing her mobile phone and purse after killing her.

In a letter to his mother while on remand for the murder Greenan admitted killing Ms Burns.

He wrote: “I am a low-life murderer and a dirty, stinking rapist.”
The teenage killer will be sentenced on July 7.

Journalist:: Ciaran Barnes

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