Two arrested over murder of loyalist criminal in Co Down

Malcolm McKeown’s body discovered in car at filling station in Waringstown on Monday

A still from CCTV footage released by the PSNI of Malcolm McKeown before he was found dead in Waringstown, Co Down, on Monday night. Photograph: PSNI

A still from CCTV footage released by the PSNI of Malcolm McKeown before he was found dead in Waringstown, Co Down, on Monday night. Photograph: PSNI

 

Organised crime is “a strong line of enquiry” in the investigation into the murder of loyalist career criminal Malcolm McKeown, the PSNI has said.

Mr McKeown’s body was discovered in his car at the back of a filling station in the village of Waringstown, Co Down, on Monday night.

Two men, aged 28 and 30, have been arrested and are being questioned by police. Searches have been carried out in Waringstown and in Lurgan, Co Armagh.

“My investigation is at an early stage,” Detective Chief Inspector Pete Montgomery said. “I am keeping an open mind as to the motive.”

Mr McKeown was one of three brothers who were involved in Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) activities in the Mid-Ulster area. His brothers Clifford and Trevor were convicted of separate LVF sectarian murders.

He was believed to have been heavily involved in the drugs trade in the Lurgan-Portadown-Banbridge area of Mid-Ulster.

Detective Chief Inspector Pete Montgomery revealed that Mr McKeown was found slumped in his car by two teenage boys. He had gunshot wounds to his head and body.

“That is something no child should ever have to witness,” he said. “It is simply unacceptable.”

He was not found until about 9pm, but the PSNI believe he was killed earlier, at approximately 7.15pm.

The PSNI has released CCTV footage which shows Mr McKeown’s last moments, as well as a car which police have appealed for the public’s help in tracing.

“CCTV footage shows him entering the shop at approximately 7.15pm,” said Det Chief Insp Montgomery. “He walks back to his car approximately four minutes later.

“Around this time, I believe that the gunman or gunmen shot him,” he said.

“We are keen to trace the driver or passengers of a dark blue or black Volkswagen Passat, registration number RK62 PLX.

“This was seen at 6.20pm before the shooting. I believe the gunman or gunmen got out of this vehicle, walked round to the back of the garage, and shot Malcolm McKeown before fleeing at approximately 7.20pm.”

The vehicle was later found burnt out.

Det Chief Insp Montgomery appealed for anyone who had seen the car, or who might have dashcam or CCTV footage, to contact the incident room in Lurgan police station.

“On Monday night, did you see the occupants get out of this vehicle, where did they go?

“Did they get into a dark coloured jeep? If they did, do you know where this vehicle went to? I would like to hear from anyone who saw Mr McKeown at any stage on Monday,” he said.