gunned down | 

Mark Hall shot dead after 'vowing to avenge' murder of Robbie Lawlor hit suspect

Sources close to Hall say he was planning on leaving his criminal lifestyle behind him
Mark Hall was murdered in west Belfast

Mark Hall was murdered in west Belfast

By Paula Mackin

Mark Hall's thirst for vengeance cost him his life.

The Belfast man's death warrant was signed the day close pal Warren Crossan was assassinated in an eerie echo of his own death.

Hall vowed to avenge the death of his criminal friend, but his quest for 'justice' went unanswered as he died in a hail of bullets.

Mark Hall was 'inseparable' from murdered friend Warren Crossan

Mark Hall was 'inseparable' from murdered friend Warren Crossan

The father-of-one was brutally gunned down on Saturday, December 18, as he sat in the front room of his mum's house in Belfast.

A 37-year-old man was arrested on Thursday night by police investigating the murder.

Hall was shot at least seven times in a well-planned and brutal hit he had no hope of surviving.

Close sources to the slain man say that while he was making moves to leave his criminal lifestyle behind him, he was consumed with avenging the murder of his childhood friend Crossan who was gunned down in similar circumstances in 2020 just streets away.

Crossan and his pal Hall were murdered just streets apart in the St James's area of Belfast

Crossan and his pal Hall were murdered just streets apart in the St James's area of Belfast

The 31-year-old had issued threats to members of a Drogheda-based drug gang with connections to dissident paramilitary groups repeatedly in recent months. He signed his own death warrant by squaring up to the men involved in his friend's murder.

Insiders say Hall was not assassinated because of any role in drug-dealing as previously speculated.

They also insisted he was not involved in any way with the murder of Robbie Lawlor, the Dublin gangster shot dead in the Ardoyne area of Belfast in April 2020, a murder Warren Crossan was linked to and for which he paid the ultimate price.

Robbie Lawlor was gunned down at a house on Etna Drive in north Belfast

Robbie Lawlor was gunned down at a house on Etna Drive in north Belfast

"Mark Hall was in no way involved in Robbie Lawlor's death. He was in Maghaberry Prison at the time so he couldn't have had anything to do with it. It's easy to say it was all about revenge for Lawlor but if that was the case they would have hit him before now," a source told us.

The Sunday World can reveal that in the aftermath of the gangland killing last weekend, associates of Hall in Drogheda have gone to ground fearing more attacks.

It's understood an associate of Hall's had his life threatened just 48 hours after Hall was targeted. The PSNI arrived at his west Belfast home to inform him they had received information that his life was in danger.

Police searches in Rodney Drive following the murder of Mark Hall

Police searches in Rodney Drive following the murder of Mark Hall

Last week there was speculation and fears that there was a 'hitman for hire' operating in Northern Ireland who has access to local knowledge.

No getaway car was used in the murder of Hall just as there wasn't in the murder of Warren Crossan and JD Donegan, indicating the killers either knew the area well or had been schooled about the locations.

Detectives are investigating a link between those murders and that of former dissident Danny McClean.

Both Crossan and Hall appear to have been betrayed by someone close to them, the timing of their rare visits to relatives' homes in west Belfast known by their killers.

Hall was struck up to seven times by bullets fired by a masked gunman through a living room window. Family members including children were present and were lucky to escape unharmed. His sister witnessed two gunmen approach the house and tried to intervene knowing her brother was the target. One of the gunmen fired a shot at her, the bullet passing through her handbag.

Mark Hall and his mother

Mark Hall and his mother

Hall had been living in Drogheda with his young pregnant girlfriend, who is originally from Dublin, and their toddler daughter.

The devastated young woman, who was on the phone with her partner when he was shot, paid an emotional tribute to the man she loved and planned to spend the rest of her life with.

"Mark was a great partner and a great dad. He always made me feel protected and he was so good to me.

"What I'll miss most is his smile, his personality and his laugh - he was so funny and bubbly.

"He appreciated every moment in life, even the little things. I will always be grateful for all the moments I had with him and I'll never ever forget them. What I'm most glad about is that he left me with two beautiful babies - one on the way and the other sitting in front of me now.

"He gave me the best three years of my life and everything I've ever wanted. He left his mark and a memory on everyone he ever met and we are all devastated by his death."

Sabrina Wilde also acknowledged her slain partner's criminal past. "Yes he had done things in his life that he regretted a lot but he was a good family man. When I found out I was pregnant with Freya, he turned his life around. He got himself a good job and was settling down," she revealed.

Mark Hall

Mark Hall

Earlier this year, Hall was acquitted of possessing a sawn-off shotgun, pistol and silencer after being arrested alongside Egyptian national Abdel Rezk in a Belfast hotel in February 2020. His co-accused was jailed for three years after a hearing at Belfast Crown Court last month, having pleaded guilty to possessing firearms and a small quantity of drugs.

A PSNI spokesperson said police had arrested a 37-year-old man in connection with the killing. He added: "Officers continue to appeal to anyone who was in the St James or Rodney Drive area on Saturday and who witnessed any suspicious activity or captured dash-cam footage in the area to contact police on 101 quoting reference number 1466 18/12/21. Or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org."

paula.mackin@sundayworld.com


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