18 December 2022

Police believe same pair of gunmen responsible for two killings in Belfast

18 December 2022

The “horrifically violent” murders of Sean Fox and Mark Hall have been formally linked by police.

Both men were killed at close range in broad daylight in West Belfast just under a year apart.

Detectives believe the murders were carried out by “the same two gunmen”.

Mark Hall, 31, was shot dead at his family home in Rodney Drive, Belfast, on Saturday December 18 2021.

Following careful examination of CCTV footage seized, we believe the murders were carried out by the same two gunmen

Two gunmen approached the home and one fired shots through the front window of the house.

Sean Fox, 42, was murdered at Donegal Celtic Football Club off the Suffolk Road on Sunday October 2 this year.

Two masked gunmen entered the club and shot the father-of-two in front of more than 100 people.

Detective Superintendent Eamonn Corrigan, head of PSNI’s major investigation teams, said: “I can confirm that detectives are now formally linking the horrifically violent murders of Mark Hall and Sean Fox.

“Following careful examination of CCTV footage seized, we believe the murders were carried out by the same two gunmen.

“It is also now our assessment the murders were carried out by an organised group of criminals who operate like terrorists and who may be, or have been, members of terrorist organisations.”

He said police are not attributing the murders to a particular organisation at this time.

But he said their deaths “bear all the hallmarks of dissident republican killings”.

“There are a number of similarities in the two murders including the location of West Belfast, as well as the brazen and reckless style of the shootings in public in broad daylight,” Mr Corrigan added.

“It is clear the gunmen have an in-depth knowledge of these areas in West Belfast and felt comfortable carrying out their executions in front of a number of people and witnesses.

Police believe Mr Fox was “singled out” as he enjoyed a drink in a busy function room.

“They were inside the premises for approximately 21 seconds. The gunmen fired 20 bullets and we have identified multiple strike marks,” the officer said.

Police said they know the suspects travelled to and from the crime scene of Mr Fox’s death on bicycles through the areas of Glen Road, Dungloe Crescent, Glenveigh, Gweedore Gardens and Carigart Avenue between 1420 and 1430 hours on October 2.

One suspect was riding “a light grey or silver generic, low spec model mountain bike”.

“There is a plastic bag over the seat,” he said.

“He was wearing a light grey hoodie with distinctive three orange lines down the arms, dark grey bottoms, dark footwear and gloves and has a cap on under his hoodie. He is carrying a dark black holdall, which I believe contained the guns.”

The second suspect was riding “a racer bike with a distinctive rear point to the saddle which appears to be a Fizik Arione, or a copy of this model”.

“It had a white handlebar, white handlebar stem, pink handlebar tape and white tyres. He was wearing a blue hoodie, dark-coloured bottoms and footwear and light grey gloves,” Mr Corrigan continued.

Police said the same disregard for the safety of local people was on display during Mr Hall’s murder when two masked gunmen arrived at the front door of the house of Mr Hall’s mother.

The men fired shots through the front window and as they fled the scene one of the suspects “turned around and fired a shot at Mark’s sister”.

Detectives also released images of a silver-colour Skoda Superb taxi, registration plate GM16 YCA, that the two suspects arrived at St James’s Crescent on Saturday December 18, last year.

“The taxi has never been recovered and I would appeal to anyone who has information on the car and its whereabouts to contact police,” Mr Corrigan said.

Images of the suspects have been released and police are appealing for anyone with information to contact them.

Detectives have conducted a number of searches and arrests this week in west Belfast in relation to both murders.

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