EXCLUSIVE: GUNMAN KIERAN MCLAUGHLIN TO BE SENTENCED NEXT WEEK
DISSIDENT cheerleader Kieran McLaughlin will be sentenced next week for having a cache of guns.
Derry Daily can reveal that the 60-year-old is facing a sentence of up to 25 years behind bars for possessing the weapons and ammunition with intent to endanger life.
And he is likely to be found by the Probation Service to be a “high risk of re-offending” and also a “danger to the public”.
The “danger to the public” assessment would mean that trial judge Mr Justice Mark Horner QC could add an extra five years to his sentence and also an extended period to his licence once he is eventually released from Maghaberry prison.
A plea and sentence hearing is listed for this forthcoming Tuesday, June 2 at Belfast Crown Court.
Prosecutors will tell the court that McLaughlin has a lengthy criminal record, including convictions for firearms offences.
In March, McLaughlin was found not guilty by the judge of murdering Barry McCrory in his flat in Shipquay Street.
Prosecutors said Mr McCrory never stood a chance, claiming McLaughlin a donned benny hat, gloves and ‘goggles’ to disguise his appearance for the “execution”.
And on Thursday, October 10, 2013, a camera in Shipquay Street allegedly picked up his stocky frame walking up Shipquay Street around 10.30 am carrying a blue ruck sack on his back.
As the footage was played in court, McLaughlin sat in the dock between two prison officers, dressed in blue jeans and a tight-fitting grey T-shirt with his eyes either closed or staring at the floor.
Then McLaughlin is alleged to have paused outside No 4, pressing the buzzer to flat Number 7 and patiently waiting for an answer.
Mr McCrory was lying in bed with his partner when the buzzer to their flat jumped into life.
She got up and pressed it, not knowing that she had just let in the man who was going to kill her lover in a brutal and cold-blooded fashion.
Inside the flat complex, the male figures is seen going up and down several flights of stairs as he went in search of flat No 7.
Eventually he finds it on the third floor. Standing outside, the man pauses to take off his ruck sack and puts on a pair of black gloves before rapping repeatedly on the door.
A camera above the flat door showed the flat door opening, and the lone figure walking inside.
Then less than a minute later, he calmly walks out of the flat and down several flights of stairs and back into Shipquay Street to catch City Cab taxi to take him to St Joseph’s Church in Galliagh.
The 999 alarm was soon raised and police swamped the busy Shipquay Street and launched a hunt for a suspect – named by the PSNI to the media at the time as Kieran McLaughlin, a known dissident republican terrorist.
An examination of the scene revealed that Mr McCrory had been blasted four times with a 12 bore, double barrelled, side by side double triggered sawn-off shotugn from as little as three feet away.
Two rounds pierced the back of his head causing massive damage to the brain and skull. Such was the damage a pathologist said his fatality would have been caused rapidly.
His crime, alleged the killer, was that he was a drug dealer.
A hunt for McLaughlin was launched his picture was released but he could not be found.
At one point the suspect had crossed the border into Donegal and the Gardai were involved in trying to track him and arrest him for murder.
But McLaughlin had evaded capture and crossed the border back into Derry having equipped himself with two cars – a stolen Honda Civic and a Volkswagen Passat.
A week later, the hunt intensified when he was tracked down to his old stomping ground of Galliagh.
Heat seeking cameras on an aerial police surveillance craft directed officers on the ground to a parked car after a large heat glow showed up on its equipment of a person under the vehicle.
After a brief stand off, McLaughlin finally gave himself up and a shotgun, a pistol, shotgun cartridges and ammunition were recovered.
McLaughlin denies murdering Mr McCrory and possession guns and ammunition with intent to supply.
However, he earlier pleaded guilty to possession guns and ammunition in suspicious circumstances.
At the end of his trial, Mr Justice Horner said the prosecution “had not proved beyond reasonable doubt” that McLaughlin was the gunman.
However, the judge found him guilty of possession of the firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life.