The family of a 19-year-old Catholic man shot dead by unionist paramilitaries have publicly denounced the police investigation which has failed to yield a single arrest in almost four years.
The parents and fiancee of Gerard Lawlor have spoken out as the anniversary of the murder approaches of their belief that their son’s murder could have been prevented and that the killers are being protected because they are informers.
Mr Lawlor was targeted in the early hours of July 22 2002, just after leaving a north Belfast bar for the short walk to his Whitewell home.
The killing happened after several unsuccessful attempts to murder Catholics in the north of the city. John Lawlor says the Crown forces should have closed the area.
“Why weren’t they at the top of the Whitewell Road, having spot checks, even along the Antrim Road? Why wasn’t more done?” he asks.
The PSNI police have admitted they know who killed Gerard but say lack of evidence is severely hampering the investigation.
Mr Lawlor says his son’s killers are “walking about with impunity”.
“We want results,” Mrs Lawlor says. “Do something - prove to the people you are a force that is workable.
“They haven’t even contacted us in nearly two years. It is a complete farce. It is just not good enough.”
Reports increasingly suggest that unionist killers behind “unsolved” murders in north Belfast are being protected because they are informers.
Asked whether he thought this applied in Gerard’s case, Mr Lawlor says: “Absolutely. There must have been about six or seven murders around these neck of the woods and not one I know of has been solved. That speaks volumes.”