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under siege 'We can't take whole UDA on, but we will take on three junkies who killed Glenn' vows Quinn family

Quinn family piles on pressure to get justice over brutal murder

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Ellen Quinn, Martin Quinn and Lesley Murphy, sister of Glenn Quinn, who was beaten to death in his Carrickfergus flat in January 2020. Picture Pacemaker Press.

Ellen Quinn, Martin Quinn and Lesley Murphy, sister of Glenn Quinn, who was beaten to death in his Carrickfergus flat in January 2020. Picture Pacemaker Press.

Ellen Quinn, Martin Quinn and Lesley Murphy, sister of Glenn Quinn, who was beaten to death in his Carrickfergus flat in January 2020. Picture Pacemaker Press.

Martin Quinn won't quit until his brother's addict murderers are in the dock.

It's been two years since Glenn Quinn's bloodied and broken body was found at his Ashleigh Park home in Carrickferfgus - the innocent victim of a manic, frenzied attack.

To say he suffered a brutal end would be to understate the savage, animalistic beating meted out by his three attackers. Armed with iron bars, they set about their victim, raining down blows as he hopelessly tried to defend himself.

Such was the nature of the attack that it left a community in a state of shock.

In an exclusive and at times emotionally charged interview, Martin revealed to the Sunday World his family's determination to win justice for his brother, the hole that has been left in their lives, the trauma of identifying Glenn's body, their misgivings about the PSNI investigation and living under death threat in the town they call home.

"There's a massive darkness in our lives," he said, "Glenn was a shining light in our family, when the door opens you expect to see his smiling face."

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Glenn Quinn

Glenn Quinn

Glenn Quinn

The three who took Glenn's life were members of South East Antrim UDA and were part of a mob based in the Woodburn Estate in the town.

Drugs are the common currency in the seaside town and while SEA once held an iron grip on the trade, the town is like the lawless Wild West with competing and feuding criminal gangs competing for a slice of the cake.

Violence is common and the Quinns' determination to see Glenn's killers brought to heel has resulted in a number of death threats, including against his 77-year-old mother Ellen.

With 25 years service as a former policeman, Martin is familiar with the beast but admits living under threat is uncomfortable.

"With the threats against us we are a family under siege," he said, "but it just makes us more determined to drill down on these people, we're not giving up to a bunch of junkies from Woodburn.

"Having to look over our shoulders all the time is not something we are used to. We are a well-known family in the town but having to worry about walking down the street in Carrick is not a good feeling."

Their campaign for justice has Glenn's killers on the run - how else can you explain a death threat against a 77-year-old woman who has just lost her son?

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"Mum's home, in the space of two years, has had so much security added that it looks more like a police station than a pensioner's bungalow.

"We're not going anywhere, they picked the wrong family when they took us on."

The Quinn family are closely linked to the security forces; Glenn was the only one who didn't join either the police or Army.

"We always thought if they came for someone it would be one of us, we never thought Glenn would be hurt, but it was him.

"The distress, horror and grief is immeasurable. My sister Lesley, like our dad, was in the UDR, but even for her the trauma of identifying our brother's body was almost too much.

"She was on her hands and knees in the morgue. He had 52 fractures in his chest alone, never mind what they did to his face."

The Quinn family's service to their country is in stark contrast to the UDA rabble that took Glenn's life.

"They're not loyalists, there's nothing loyalist or British about what they do, they wrap themselves in a flag and think that gives themselves respectability. They're scum, narco-criminals."

While full of praise for support from "police on the ground", he admits to serious misgivings about the PSNI investigation into the murder, having already lodged a complaint with the Police Ombudsman.

Officers, he said, missed a chance to nail the attackers and delays in arresting suspects gave his alleged killers time to destroy vital forensic evidence.

"The investigation has been difficult because of Covid, but the police didn't take action immediately after Glenn's body was found - for 36 hours they sat on their hands giving them time to destroy clothes, get their stories straight. It leaves the investigation with an uphill task.

"It was very obvious Glenn was the victim of a violent attack, but the police sat back. The first 24 hours in any investigation is vital. These people used baseball bats and iron bars, every contact leaves a trace but vital time was wasted."

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Last pic: Glenn Quinn on CCTV

Last pic: Glenn Quinn on CCTV

Last pic: Glenn Quinn on CCTV

Forensic teams returned to Glenn's apartment in October and the family are hopeful of a breakthrough, but remain realistic.

"We always have hope that the police will get them and will find the evidence. It's frustrating when the police issue appeals for people to come forward when they know people can't.

"They don't feel safe, Glenn was murdered for voicing an opinion, is it any wonder people can't come forward? These junkies carried weapons through the town and were laughing and joking as they left Glenn's flat so there were witnesses, we understand why they can't come forward."

And he's convinced the failure to arrest and charge his brother's killers is part of benign policing in the town.

"Outside of Belfast, Carrick is the murder capital of Northern Ireland, it's systemic, it's been there for years.

"There are seven unsolved, post-conflict murders in Carrick but the police have no presence in estates like Castlemara, Glenfield and Woodburn.

"We need to break that cycle of appeasement, it's the only way we can stop the people who murdered Glenn from murdering again, because they will and another family will have to go through what we have been through.

"I have faith in the people of Carrick, they support us in a quiet way, what happened to Glenn can't happen again."

Martin has had meetings with unionist party leaders Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, Doug Beattie and Jim Allister and is due to meet Chief Constable Simon Byrne.

But the next pressing appointment is to put Glenn to rest.

"Aviemore (in Scotland) was a favourite place for my father, a beautiful place.

"We still have his ashes and we are taking them and Glenn's to Scotland to scatter them, we're all going to end up there but for now dad and Glenn will be together."

The family will hold a vigil at Carrick Castle on Tuesday and the public is welcome.

"The fight goes on, SEA has 3,000 members we can't take them all on, but we will take on the three junkies that killed him."

He added: "Give us justice and we will walk away, but we're never out of the fight until that happens."

richard.sullivan@ sundayworld.com

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