It was ‘bloody revenge . . . a savage and barbaric act devoid of any pity’ - judge

Dublin barber convicted of Belfast murder


A Dublin barber calling himself “Ciaran McCrory”, was on Monday convicted of murder in Belfast under his real name of Frankie “Studs” Lanigan.

The 56-year-old, originally from west Belfast, was jailed for life for murdering 22-year-old John Stephen Knocker outside a former Co Tyrone hotel on May 31st, 1998. Lanigan lived at Knockmore Square in Lisburn, at the time of the shooting.

Lanigan then fled to Dublin, becoming “McCrory”, finally setting up in an address at Delhurst Terrace, Clonsilla, west Dublin, and working as a barber at the Carlisle Gym complex in Terenure, Dublin.

However, he was unmasked 15 years later by gardaí in an undercover operation. They eventually picked up a discarded coffee cup by Lanigan from which they recovered his DNA profile. This was matched with DNA found at the murder scene.

Although detained under a European Arrest Warrant in 2013, Lanigan spent the next six years fighting his extradition before eventually being returned to Northern Ireland last year.

On Monday, Belfast Crown Court judge, Mr Justice Horner told him the evidence against him was “overwhelming”, shooting Mr Knocker “to prove who was the boss”.

It was “bloody revenge ... a savage and barbaric act devoid of any pity”, after Mr Knocker bettered him in a fight, said the judge, who added, the first shot brought Mr Knocker to his knees, before he was then “coldly and callously finished him off” with a second shot to his head at point blank range.