feud hit  | 

High Court hears detectives still looking for gunman who shot Robbie Lawlor dead

The information was heard in court as a one of those accused in the murder plot was refused bail for fourth time

Robbie Lawlor

Detectives are continuing their hunt for the gunman who assassinated crime boss Robbie Lawlor, the High Court heard today.

Prosecutors stressed the probe into the Irish gangster's shooting in north Belfast is ongoing, despite a decision to prosecute two men for his murder.

Confirmation came as one of the accused was refused bail for a fourth time.

Patrick Teer, 46, allegedly took part in events surrounding the killing on April 4, 2020.

Lawlor was killed in broad daylight outside a house at Etna Drive in the Ardoyne district by a gunman who emerged from the property and opened fire.

The 36-year-old's murder is believed to be connected to a deadly drugs dispute among organised crime gangs with connections to Drogheda, Dublin, Sligo and beyond Ireland.

Four killings and a series of other gun and bomb attacks have been linked to the feud.

Neither Teer, of Thornberry Hill in Belfast, nor Holland, from Etna Drive, are suspected of shooting Lawlor.

Instead, they have been charged with murder as part of a joint enterprise, based on their alleged involvement in the wider plot.

According to the prosecution the plan to lure Lawlor to his death was devised nearly three weeks earlier.

Holland allegedly travelled to Sligo and spoke to an unnamed international drug dealer at a hotel on March 16.

It was claimed that Teer paid for his co-accused's trip.

Both men remain in custody following a series of failed attempts to secure bail.

As Teer mounted a renewed application to be released, a Crown lawyer confirmed a decision has been taken to prosecute him for the offences of murder, conspiracy to murder, and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.

But indications given to a previous court that the probe has now ended were wrong, counsel added.

She said: "There are still a number of other individuals who are being sought.

"It isn't alleged that Mr Teer or Mr Holland were the gunman, (that is) one individual police are still seeking and the investigation is still ongoing in respect of that."

With the prosecution case against Teer based on CCTV recordings, vehicle registration evidence and complex telephone data, defence lawyers argued that he should be granted bail due to anticipated delay.

Frank O'Donoghue QC predicted: "Any trial is not going to get on until 2023 at the earliest, by which stage my client will have spent two years in custody."

The impact on Teer's family from his continued detention was cited as a further reason why he should be released.

Denying bail, however, Lady Chief Justice Siobhan Keegan ruled: "I'm not satisfied there is a valid change of circumstances."

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