Manhunt ends with cross-border pursuit
Kieran McLaughlin, the Derryman at the centre of a massive manhunt in the Burnfoot area last weekend, was arrested in Derry in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
McLaughlin, 58, who is being questioned by the PSNI in relation to last Thursday’s fatal shooting of Barry McCrory on Derry’s Shipquay Street, was spotted driving a silver car in Inishowen late on Tuesday night.
He was pursued by gardaí to the border where the PSNI took over, finally capturing him in the Galliagh area of the city shortly after 3am on Wednesday.
Police recovered three firearms – two handguns and a shotgun – from Mr McLaughlin’s vehicle, but no shots were fired.
British Army bomb disposal experts were called to the scene as part of the investigation, and around 40 homes in nearby Ederowen Park were evacuated.
“It’s a relief that Mr McLaughlin is in custody,” PSNI chief superintendent Stephen Martin said.
“Three scenes are being held, one is the location of the arrest and the others centre around two vehicles.
The arrest brought to an end a seven-day search for the fugitive that included substantial operations along the border.
On Friday night, armed gardaí, supported by the Irish Army, surrounded a house on the Brae Road between Burnfoot and Iskaheen for several hours as part of the search for McLaughlin, but the house was empty when they entered the premises.
Garda sources indicated that they believed McLaughlin had definitely been in the house at some stage on the Friday but had slipped away.
The presence of the Garda’s armed response unit, and ongoing uncertainty over where McLaughlin was, led to extreme disquiet amongst people living in the Iskaheen, Burnfoot and Bridgend areas, with reports of families ‘doubling up’ in one another’s houses until the murder suspect was captured.