Police appeal over sectarian murder

James McMahon.
James McMahon.

Detectives from Legacy Investigation Branch are appealing for information in relation to a 12-year-old murder of a Catholic man.

James McMahon (21) in Lisburn died after he was attacked, by three masked men armed with baseball bats in the Hancock Street area of Lisburn at 10.30pm, on November 20, 2003.

Members of the UDA are believed to have carried out the murder and though a number of people appeared in court on related arms charges however no-one has been charged with Mr McMahon’s murder.

Mr McMahon who suffered serious head injured was taken to hospital after the attack but died the following day as a result of the injuries he sustained.

He died later at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

Appealing for information, Detective Chief Inspector Peter Montgomery, from LIB, said: “We have carried out a review of this case and as a result, we are keen to speak to anyone who can help us.

“There are people out there who know what happened to James McMahon that night and we know they have information which could help us bring people before the court.

“Anyone with information should contact detectives on the non-emergency number 101, directly on 02892 589140 or via mobile on 07585 228283. Alternatively, information can be given to the Crimestoppers charity anonymously by telephoning 0800 555 111.”

At Mr McMahon’s funeral parish priest Father Sean Rogan, appealed to the mourners at his funeral at St Patrick’s Church in Lisburn that all sides had to stand up against the perpetrators.

“Perhaps a watershed has been reached for our citizenship,” he said at the time.

“Isn’t it a time to stand together as brothers and sisters whatever our culture, whatever our creed, to refuse to be accepting of those things which bring disgrace and shame to our community?

“It will take many floods of water to wash away the stain and the shame of that dark and foul murder of James McMahon.”

The priest revealed that Mr McMahon’s mother had requested that her son’s organs be donated ‘that others might live.’

At the time auxiliary Diocesan Bishop Anthony Farquhar, told the family there had been widespread disgust at the ‘brutal and callous’ murder.

He said that even though the sectarian killings which blighted Northern Ireland for thirty years had eased off, some still refused to end the bloodshed. “Some see a glass half empty, some see a glass half full,” said the bishop.

“However, we are starkly reminded that, whatever else, the glass still holds the dregs of bitterness and hatred.”