Third man held in M1 murder probe

Published Friday, 02 November 2012
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A 29-year-old man has been arrested in the Republic of Ireland in connection with the murder of prison officer David Black.

Third man held in M1 murder probe
David Black, who died in an ambush on the M1, on Thursday morning. (© Pacemaker)

Gardaí said the man was detained in Co Leitrim on Friday evening.

He was taken to Carrick-On-Shannon Garda Station under Section 30 Offences Against the State Act 1939.

The PSNI also continue to question two men, including prominent republican Colin Duffy, about the killing.

The pair, aged 44 and 31, were detained in the Lurgan area on Friday morning and taken to Antrim Serious Crime Suite for questioning.

Mr Black, a 52-year-old father-of-two from Cookstown, was ambushed by gunmen while driving to work at Maghaberry along the M1 near Lurgan on Thursday morning.

A number of shots were fired at his black Audi A4 (reg HHZ 1560) from a dark blue Toyota Camry with Dublin-registered number plates (reg 94 D 50997), which pulled up alongside.

It is widely believed that dissident republicans are behind the attack as they have been engaged in a long-running protest campaign against conditions in Maghaberry.

Earlier this year, Lurgan man Duffy was acquitted of the murders of two soldiers shot dead by dissident republicans outside Massereene military barracks in Antrim in March 2009.

Meanwhile, a reward of up to £10,000 has been put up for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the murder. Independent charity Crimestoppers is behind the reward fund.

"This heinous crime has sent shockwaves through communities across Northern Ireland and left a family without their father," Roger Critchell, director of operations for Crimestoppers, said.

"I am urging anyone with information about this crime, no matter how small that information may be, to contact Crimestoppers anonymously."

We don't want to know who you are - only what you know.

Crimestoppers

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable for Crime Operations Drew Harris added: "If the reward encourages some individuals to come forward, this will be of benefit to all our efforts as we work to secure convictions against Mr Black's killers."

Police have also launched a fresh, specific appeal for information about the movements of the vehicles belonging to both the victim and the gunmen in the hours before the shooting.

"We need to hear from anyone who saw David Black's Audi A4 at any stage from shortly after 7am yesterday, when it travelled from Cookstown, through Stewartstown and onto the Tamnamore roundabout, before going onto the M1 eastbound," PSNI Superintendent Keith Agnew said.

"We also need to hear from anyone who has seen the car used by the killers in the past few days. This car was found burnt out in the Inglewood area of north Lurgan at 7.50am on Thursday."

Mr Black, a long-standing member of the Orange Order, is the 30th prison officer to be murdered in Northern Ireland since 1974 - though the first for almost 20 years.

The murder of the prison officer has been widely condemned by politicians and leaders, including the First and deputy First Minister, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Prime Minister David Cameron.

Meanwhile, a book of condolence for Mr Black has been opened at the Burnavon Centre in his hometown of Cookstown by the council's SDLP chairman Tony Quinn.

Mr Quinn said it was the least the community could do to show its respect.

"The book of condolences is there, not only as a tribute to the high esteem David Black was held in the community, but it also gives local people the opportunity to unite and pay their tributes to the senseless killing of one of their own," he added.

"The council is unanimous in its condemnation of David Black's murder."

During times like this, a community has the opportunity to send a stark message out to those who carried out this brutal murder - not in our name, not in the name of the people of Cookstown.

Tony Quinn, SDLP

Ian Simpson from the NI Prison Service Benevolent Fund, who met with Mr Black's family on Thursday night, said it was a "very sad and very moving experience at this tragic, tragic time".

He said that David's widow Yvonne had said she only wanted to know: "Why and why now?"

"The Prison Service family will obviously pull together at this time to be there for the family," he added.

"As Yvonne said, nobody would want anybody to take any retaliation for what happened today and we certainly would not want this to be repeated."

He described the late prison officer as a "very well respected man", who was well liked and dedicated to his job.

"He had served over 30 years in the service and I think everybody in the service who knew him, who worked with him, held him in the highest regard," he said.

"He is somebody who will be sadly missed."

Anyone with information about David Black's murder is asked to contact the special incident room at Lurgan PSNI station on 028 38 315291 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
25 Comments
ZZ in Belfast wrote (753 days ago):
@ Hooper in Twinbrook; Where did i say that SF should become unionists?? DO not put words in my mouth!! i did not say this!! i said that i would not expect them to give up their irishness and they could still fight for a united ireland from westeminister.. Why do the SDLP take their seats in westminister but are not unionists?? I am saying that if they lead by example, they might have more luck getting horrible crimes like this stopped in the future? Do not go twisting my words please!
Iain in Belfast wrote (753 days ago):
Ryan take your blinkers off for a second and look at the real world. United Ireland through a peaceful and democratic means....hahahaha yeah right. Weird way to be peaceful, killing a man. You seem to have a blindspot when it comes to your nationality, no one is stopping you from being Irish are they? No, but you constantly bleat on like a sheep. You are a legal citizen but no one is demanding you bow down to the crown, well apart from yourself it would seem.
John cross in Lisburn wrote (754 days ago):
Never done politics as a catholic in ni,never thought needed to!never voted.but these people who have done this and other crime as well are really putting me of this place and what they say they stand for so the DUP for me!
Gillian Lamont in Newtownards wrote (754 days ago):
How sad to see an innocent man being murdered. The decent people of Northern Ireland condemn this horrific, senseless murder. I dont agree with the death penalty but sometimes I wish I did. Nobody wants the country to go back to what it was. I dont particularly want my child witnessing horrific attacks on innocent people. These 'people' (I use the term lightly) do not deserve to see the light of day, but justice must be done in a court of law not revenge attacks. RIP Mr Black, may God rest your soul and bring comfort to those who knew you in the dark days to come.
jackie in belfast wrote (754 days ago):
@ Ryan you just don,t like anyone who has a different point of view than you do you ? Typical sinn fein,an island of equals but on our terms only !Your obviously over the moon to be an Irish(not British) citizen,can i ask you who did you vote for in the Irish presidential race last year ? Oh sorry i forgot you weren,t allowed to vote !
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