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Town 'on a knife edge' ahead of Regency gunman funeral

Kevin Murray
Kevin Murray

Residents say they are 'living on a knife-edge' ahead of the funeral of a chief suspect in a notorious Regency hotel shooting.

Co Tyrone man Kevin 'Flat Cap' Murray was suspected of the gangland feud murder which happened in February 2016.

The murder ignited a deadly feud between members of the rival Kinahan and Hutch gangs.

Mr Murray, who was in his late 40s, died at his Co Tyrone home on Wednesday night with his daughter by his side after battling Motor Neurone Disease.

He had lived alone in Townsend Street in the town. He had been housebound as the disease took a grip on him. Local residents say they hadn't seen him venture outside in months.

His home had a high level of security and was protected on all sides by CCTV cameras.

One resident, who wished to remain nameless, said that the community had been living on a knife-edge for the past number of months, expecting an attack by the deadly Kinahan gang.

"These last few months we have been waiting on something to happen," he said. "And now that he has passed away people in the area are worried that there might be some kind of attack by the Kinahans on the funeral."

In May, attempts to extradite the father-of-two over his alleged role in the Dublin gangland murder of David Byrne in February 2016 were halted at Belfast Recorder's Court due to Murray being diagnosed with the rapidly deteriorating and terminal MND.

Byrne (34) from the Crumlin area of Dublin, was shot dead at a boxing weigh-in at the city's Regency Hotel by gunmen dressed as Garda officers.

Murray was detained last September under a European Arrest Warrant issued by authorities in the Irish Republic.

He was being sought for alleged offences of murder, possession of a firearm with intent, and possession of a firearm in suspicious circumstances.

It is believed that Murray requested that he did not wish to have a republican funeral.

His funeral will take place on Saturday at 10am in the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Strabane.