Gun murder victim was due to marry

A man murdered by suspected dissident republicans in the North was about to get married, police said today.

Ciaran Doherty, 31, was stripped, tied up and shot in a remote lane outside Derry, near the border.

The detective investigating the killing said the murdered man was the father of a two-and-a-half-year-old girl.

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Harrison said: “This city has moved on, we don’t want this sort of thing.

“It is time now to stand up to these people.

“What they are is criminals, they are unrepresentative of this town, and we need to get them off the streets.”

The man, who was shot in the head, was found by a member of the public at 10.10pm yesterday on the Braehead Road close to the border with Co Donegal and 400m off the main Letterkenny Road. A priest was alerted and then the emergency services but he was dead when they arrived.

Mr Harrison said Mr Doherty, from the Coshowen area of Derry, was known to police but this could never excuse his killing.

He said police were carrying out a painstaking search and the body remained at the scene, a picturesque area close to Lough Foyle and only a mile or two from the border with the Republic of Ireland. Gardaí have been asked for help.

The scene remains cordoned off with forensics teams carrying out detailed examination.

Mr Harrison added that Mr Doherty was due to be married within three months time and his death was unacceptable.

“The people who were responsible for this are criminals, they provide nothing for society, they skulk around in the dark and they are unrepresentative of this town.

“The people need to come forward and get them off their backs,” he said.

He said Mr Doherty left home at about 8pm last night and police were still trying to ascertain his movements but he may have been intending to go to a shop.

“Ciaran suffered a brutal death, he sustained serious injuries. It was unjustified, it was unwarranted. These people destroyed this family’s life.”

He appealed for anybody who saw anything, including any vehicle movements in the area at the time, to contact police.

The victim was 6ft tall, with receding brown hair. A forensic tent was placed over his remains, beside a field in which ponies grazed.

A priest who visited the area where the body was discovered, Fr Stephen McLaughlin, said: “It’s a scene that’s quite hard to take in.

“The immediate feeling you have is one of utter revulsion, it is sickening.

“We thought certainly that these sort of things were not going to be part of our future.

“It was a just chilling scene, a man left, obviously murdered, at the side of a quiet country road.”

MP for the area Mark Durkan said: “The people of Derry will be disgusted and appalled to learn of this murder.”

He said the killing echoed the so-called “execution” murders carried out by the IRA during the Troubles.

Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson said: “It is wrong. There is no place for this in our society. We all want the gun to be taken out of our community. We are absolutely disgusted with what happened last night.”

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