Items seized in Carrickfergus murder searches

4/12/16: A mural in the Castlemara estate in Carrickfergus
4/12/16: A mural in the Castlemara estate in Carrickfergus

Searches have been carried out in Carrickfergus in relation to two murders – both of which have been linked to paramilitaries.

The PSNI released a statement on Wednesday which said that in the past two days its Serious Crime Branch had conducted “a number of searches” in the Castlemara neighbourhood and elsewhere in the east Antrim coastal town.

Castlemara is a neighbourhood with a heavy presence of the South East Antrim UDA, and it has featured prominently in a long-running feud in the town between different wings of the terror faction.

The PSNI said that on Monday a house there was searched in relation to the murder of Mark Gourley.

He went missing from Glengormley in 2009.

The 36-year-old had been described as a loyalist foot soldier in court, and police said he was “vulnerable” and on medication.

Police have previously declined to rule out paramilitary involvement in his killing.

He was from the Castlemara area.

Officers also searched land on Monday in relation to the murder of George Gilmore Senior, a leading terrorist in the South East Antrim UDA who was shot in the town in March during the feud.

One further house search in relation to Gilmore’s murder took place in Carrickfergus area yesterday (June 27).

Police said a number of items were seized and taken away for further examination.

It is believed that the two murders are not being linked.

Detective Inspector Darren McCartney said: “I would like to thank the community of Carrickfergus who have already provided me with information in relation to not only these two murders but other serious crimes in the area.

“These searches over the past two days are proof that police have listened and responded to this information.

“I would appeal to local people to continue providing police with support in these two investigations so that we can bring those responsible to justice.

“If anyone has any further information please contact detectives on the telephone number which has been dedicated to the team investigating George Gilmore’s murder on 028 9025 9542. I would like to reassure you that any information provided will treated in strict confidence.”