West Belfast murder blamed on dissident republicans


The murder of a man in West Belfast in front of his partner and her young daughter has been blamed on dissident republicans.

Raymond Johnston, 28, was killed in February inside his Glenbawn Avenue home.

Detectives have revealed CCTV security camera images of two suspects.

Raymond Johnston (PSNI/PA)
Raymond Johnston (PSNI/PA)

Detective chief inspector Geoff Boyce, from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Serious Crime Branch, said: "Today, we are also prepared to publicly state that we believe Arm na Poblachta, who claim to be a dissident republican terrorist group, was directly involved in Raymond's murder.

"The gunmen deliberated, planned and carried out the murder of Raymond Johnston brazenly, coldly and clinically.

"We need to identify the perpetrators and take them off the streets in order to prevent further murders from taking place."

On February 13, CCTV footage captured outside Mr Johnston's home showed two hooded men approaching the house at around 7.45pm and making their way inside.

Mr Boyce added: "One of these men is clearly armed with a weapon.

"The first male appears to open the door and you can see the second male is carrying what we believe is a long-barrelled firearm.

"They go into the home and less than 10 seconds later, the pair emerge having shot Raymond Johnston in the chest, killing him."

Arm na Poblachta (Republican Army) has been linked to former Royal Marine Ciaran Maxwell.

He was imprisoned last year after admitting terrorism charges connected to the discovery of 43 weapons hides by police.

Mr Boyce said the victim's family had been left devastated.

He added: "Not only did they lose Raymond in the most brutal way, but his partner and her daughter also witnessed his horrific murder.

"The trauma of witnessing such a cold, clinical and calculated killing will be etched in their memories for the rest of their lives.

"They didn't deserve this and there is absolutely no justification for murdering Raymond."

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