Inquiry into 1993 NI murder of Joseph Reynolds reopens

Subcontractor was on way to Shorts factory when van ambushed by UVF gunmen


Detectives in Northern Ireland have reopened an investigation into the murder of a father of five shot dead on his way to work in east Belfast 20 years ago.

Officers said the decision was taken after new information emerged during a review of the cold case file on the killing of Joseph Reynolds in 1993.

Mr Reynolds (40), from west Belfast, was on his way to Shorts aircraft factory, where he worked as a subcontracting painter, when his van was ambushed by UVF gunmen.

The red Nissan van had stopped at a pedestrian crossing on Sydenham Road at 8.25am on the morning of October 12th, 1993, to allow two men to cross.

The two men, who were wearing blue boilersuits and flat caps, walked across the road at Fraser Street but when they drew level with the van they opened fire with a handgun and a rifle.

At the same time, another man in a stolen light blue Astra car, which had pulled up behind the van, also opened fire.

Mr Reynolds’s workmates managed to get the van to the Shorts factory where medical assistance was provided, but Mr Reynolds was pronounced dead.

Three of the seven other men in the van, four relatives and three workmates, were also injured.

The three gunmen ran off down Fraser Street, across the Sydenham bypass to Ballymacarrett Road, where they drove off in a dark blue Vauxhall Astra.

A number of arrests were made in the original police investigation but no one was ever charged.

Police will today be in various parts of east Belfast distributing leaflets and posters and asking for help from the local community.

Det Chief Insp Karen Baxter, from the PSNI Serious Crime Branch, said: “This was a murder which devastated the Reynolds family and shocked the east Belfast community. There was something about Joseph being shot on his way to work in broad daylight in front of relatives and workmates which chilled people.

“I am asking people who witnessed the shooting to make contact with police. I am also appealing to people in east Belfast who have information about those involved to come forward.

“Joseph left a wife and five children. He was widely respected in the community, far beyond his native west Belfast. I would ask those people with information in east Belfast who can assist this renewed investigation to do the right thing and tell us what they know.”

Press Association