'sitting duck' | 

Belfast murder victim Sean Fox ignored warnings just like pal ‘JD’ Donegan

The 49-year-old who was shot dead on Sunday shrugged off warnings that he was going to be murdered due to his involvement in criminality.

Searches have been carried out in west Belfast following the murder of Sean Fox (inset)

Jim 'JD' Donegan

Jim 'JD' Donegan

Sunday World

Murder victim Sean ‘Foxy’ Fox ignored the writing on the wall just like his slain friend JD Donegan did before.

The 49-year-old who was shot dead on Sunday shrugged off warnings that he was going to be murdered due to his involvement in criminality.

As always, the former footballer attended the Donegal Celtic football club on a Sunday afternoon for a few drinks with friends, not taking police advice to alter his movements.

He was a sitting duck when the two masked gunmen entered and assassinated him in cold blood in front of horrified Sunday drinkers who had gathered to watch the Manchester Derby football match in the West Belfast club.

Despite protesting he was not involved in the drugs trade, a bounty was already on his head.

Still from CCTV issued by the PSNI of two suspects at the scene of the shooting of Sean Fox in west Belfast on Sunday. Issue date: Tuesday October 4, 2022.© PA

For whatever his crimes where he paid for them at 2.30pm last Sunday afternoon, blasted in the head at close range before his killer riddled his body with further shots.

Witnesses say nine shots were fired in total and Mr Fox died immediately.

It was a cold and brutal killing carried out calmly in broad daylight in front of dozens of witnesses, just like close pal JD Donegan was executed outside the school gates of his son's school at 3 pm in front of terrified onlookers four years ago.

Sources say Fox was killed by the same “hit man for hire.”

Police say they believe it is the same gunman responsible for five other murders carried out in almost the identical style. Broad daylight and making their escape on foot.

One murder associated to this ruthless killer was in April 2020 when Robbie Lawlor was shot dead in the garden of a house in Ardoyne in north Belfast.

Lawlor, from the Republic of Ireland, was one of the most notorious and feared gangsters in the country.

He was gunned down as he tried to flee out the front door of a house in Etna Drive in Ardoyne.

Two people from Belfast are currently charged in connection with his murder.

Jim 'JD' Donegan

The main suspect in the murder was Warren Crossan who was heavily involved in criminality, including drugs, on both sides of the border.

Crossan was shot dead in June 2020 in retribution for his association with Dublin drug lords. It is believed it was the same gunman who shot Sean Fox and the same gunman who killed his father six years previous.

His father was Continuity IRA boss Tommy Crossan, who was shot dead on Good Friday, April 2014, as he sat in a hut at his fuel business off the Springfield Road in west Belfast.

A year after Warren Crossan was murdered while visiting his mother in the St James area of West Belfast his closest cohort Mark Hall suffered the same fate.

On December 18 2021, Mark Hall was gunned down in St James' as he too visited his mother. It is believed the 31-year-old was murdered because he had been stating publicly that he intended to avenge Warren Crossan’s death.

Their deaths were a warning to those who would consider the potential lucrative benefits of involvement with the Dublin based drugs gangs.

Crossan and Hall were set up by a friend who was able to inform their killers of their exact movements, dates and times they could be expected in west Belfast.

The same is believed to the circumstances that led to the murder of Fox and Jim ‘JD’ Donegan who was gunned down by the same hitman in west Belfast in December 2018.

Both men were members of the “Marbella Crew” a gang of drug dealers from west Belfast and the Short Strand area of east Belfast who liked to flash their wealth in the Spanish resort known for its association with the Kinahan cartel in Dublin.

The serial killer has links in the past to both the INLA and Oglaigh na hEireann.

A list of alleged drug dealers and touts had been posted on social media in recent days under the name of Action Against Drugs. Several of Mr Fox's associates are on that list obtained by The Sunday World.

They have been warned to leave the country or suffer the same fate.

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