Unionist paramilitaries are believed to be behind the brutal murder of a rival drug dealer.
Mark Christie was bludgeoned to death after being chased through the Kilcooley estate in Bangor, County Down.
The 36-year-old was confronted by a six-strong gang brandishing an array of weapons including a machete and screwdrivers before being hacked to death. The body was later dumped by the side of the road.
He was under threat by paramilitaries who had ordered him to stay out of Kilcooley. It is believed he had gone to the estate, which is controlled by the UVF and UDA, to see a girlfriend. He had previously been “ordered” by the gangs to stay out of the housing estate.
The murder has brought back memories of the ‘Shankill Butchers’, serial unionist killers who used to dismember their Catholic victims.
However, local PSNI police chief Alan Crockett refused to say admit unionist paramilitaries were involved in Christie’s killing.
“Whatever Mark’s background, he didn’t deserve to be hacked to death in the street,” he said.
A source in the area was reported as saying: “He had annoyed an awful lot of people. He had a lot of threats against him.”
Kilcooley is one of the largest estates in the North of Ireland with a population of some 4,000 and remains under the cosh of unionist paramilitary gangs.