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Man (25) accused of murder of dad-of-four Shane Whitla is remanded in custody

Kevin Conway was appearing at Craigavon Magistrates Court by videolink from police custody

Shane Whitla

Paul HigginsSunday World

A Lurgan man was remanded into custody today accused of the murder of Shane Whitla who was gunned down just over week ago.

At about the same time as 25-year-old Kevin Conway was appearing at Craigavon Magistrates Court by videolink from police custody, his alleged victim was being buried by his grieving family.

Conway, from Deeny Drive in Lurgan, is accused of Mr Whitla’s murder on 12 January this year and defence solicitor Patrick Madden confirmed that his client “had totally denied any involvement in this murder.”

The 39-year-old father-of-four was shot in an alleyway off Woodville Street, before making his way to Lord Lurgan Park where he was sadly pronounced dead.

Revisiting the scene yesterday, Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell said: “Yesterday, Thursday 19 January, was one week on since Shane was brutally murdered. He had been shot a number of times, including once in the back.

“This was a cowardly attack, which has taken a man’s life and left a family truly heartbroken. It leaves four children without their father.

He continued: “Our officers revisited the scene yesterday evening. We’ve been speaking with pedestrians, drivers and passengers, and have carried out extensive house-to-house enquiries.

“Our investigation continues, and I am reiterating our appeal for anyone with information to come forward. Please contact us on 101.

“I’m also keen to highlight the reward of up to £20,000 from Crimestoppers, who are a charity and independent of the police.

"The reward is offered for information given directly to Crimestoppers that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Shane’s murder. Importantly, information can be given with 100% anonymity.”

In court today, Conway confirmed he understood the charge and Det. Const. McLaughlin said he believed he could connect Conway to the charge.

Confirming that he was not applying for bail, Mr Madden said it was likely any application would have to get over the hurdles of an ongoing and live police investigation where detectives are going through CCTV “and there are other suspects in custody with witnesses to be spoken to”.

Asking for the case to be adjourned for a week, he told the court Conway was “anxious to apply for bail” so the seven day adjournment will allow time for “sureties to be put in place.”

District Judge Bernie Kelly remanded the alleged killer into custody and ordered him to be produced to court next Friday, 27 January.

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