late-night swoop | 

Fearful neighbours thought cops who raided home of murdered criminal Sean Fox were gangsters

Instead of switching on the lights in the house, officers used torches while rummaging around the master bedroom where Fox kept the controls for his extensive CCTV system.

Plain clothes cops swooped on the home of murder victim Sean Fox in a shock late-night raid on the suspected drug dealer’s CCTV

Police and paramedics at the scene of a shooting incident at the Donegal Celtic FC in west Belfast

Steven MooreSunday World

Plain-clothes cops swooped on the home of murder victim Sean Fox in a shock late-night raid on the slain drug dealer’s CCTV, the Sunday World can reveal.

But given the clandestine nature of their operation, fearful residents mistook them for gangsters.

Instead of switching on the lights in the house, officers used torches while rummaging around the master bedroom where Fox kept the controls for his extensive CCTV system.

The Lisburn property was well guarded by cameras, which is not surprising given the fact 42-year-old Sean Fox had been repeatedly warned he was a ‘dead-man-walking’.

Ever since murder victim and previous occupant Jim Donegan moved in, residents have had to put up with a steady stream of gangsters arriving – and they say that continued when Fox took over the property in November 2019.

The Sunday World visited the area last week and met a number of residents who agreed to speak to us anonymously.

They explained how uniformed officers had conducted door-to-door inquiries on Monday and asked for information and if they had CCTV.

But it was the late-night swoop on Fox’s home that caused some concern.

Two unmarked cars arrived at 9 Ayrshire Crescent at 10.30pm last Monday – around 32 hours after Fox was executed in a west Belfast social club – to retrieve CCTV footage from the house, presumably in the hope it might throw up a lead as to who carried out the Sunday lunchtime murder.

Plain clothes cops swooped on the home of murder victim Sean Fox in a shock late-night raid on the suspected drug dealer’s CCTV

But the cops’ behaviour has just added to unease of residents.

One plain-clothes officer stood guard on the drive while another used ladders to work on the camera above the front door, according to an eye-witness, who says they eventually turned on the lights in the hallway.

“We saw these two cars loads of people arrive at the house late at night,” said one witness. “We thought they were more gangsters – we’ve had plenty of them coming round over the years.

“They didn’t look like police. Nobody was in uniform and they went into the house but didn’t turn the lights on. Instead they went upstairs and were using torches, which was weird.

“I’m relieved to hear they were police but I think they could have handled it all a bit better. They didn’t have any officers in uniform and they looked really shifty using torches instead of the lights.

“They will know the people in this street have had a lot to put up with over the years. There has been a steady stream of dodgy people in and out of that house.

“The police should have come round during the day and they should have been more visible as cops to help reassure the local residents.

“People are genuinely scared now that a second person who lived in that house has been murdered and they just want to live a quiet life without all this going on.”

The PSNI refused to put on record that they had specifically entered the home of Sean Fox last Monday night but rather said they were in the “Ayrshire area”.

Police and paramedics at the scene of a shooting incident at the Donegal Celtic FC in west Belfast

In a short statement they told us: “As part of the investigation into the murder of Sean Fox, officers were in attendance in the Ayrshire area of Lisburn on Monday night, 3 October.”

Neighbours in Ayrshire Crescent have dubbed the property as ‘The Murder House’ now that the two previous occupants have both been murdered, apparently by the same gunman.

And they are holding their breath to see and dreading to see who moves in next.

Ayrshire Crescent is where Sean Fox’s right-hand man Jim ‘JD’ Donegan had lived with his wife Laura and kids.

He was gunned down in December 2018 in front of his kids as he collected them from school on the Glen Road.

As the house was not in Donegan’s name or his wife’s, she moved out a year later and fled to Spain.

Sources say that within weeks Fox had moved in with his wife and two children.

They too appear now to have left the house. Family members were escorted to the property to collect belongings during the week and Fox’s son was spotted on Thursday night packing up the boot of the family’s Range Rover.

“I remember when the police were called in November 2019 because it looked like someone was breaking into the house but in fact it was Sean Fox moving in,” said another resident.

“We don’t know what’s coming next. It’s a genuine concern for people living here.”


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