Paul Smyth murder: Growing gun fears but ‘no paramilitary link’

The body of Paul Smyth was found at his Lisburn home on Friday night
The body of Paul Smyth was found at his Lisburn home on Friday night

The motive behind the murder of a man in Lisburn remains a mystery but it does not appear to be paramilitary linked, Edwin Poots has said.

The DUP MLA was commenting after the body of Paul Smyth was discovered at a house in the Hill Street estate on Friday night.

Police say the 50-year-old had been shot but have not yet released any further information.

Detective Chief Inspector Eamonn Corrigan said: “Paul was found in his living room at around 8.45pm on Friday night.”

Three people arrested in connection with the murder, two men aged 28 and 32 and a 28-year-old woman, have been released on bail pending further inquiries. A 49-year-old man who was also detained has been released unconditionally.

Mr Poots said that although he did not believe a paramilitary organisation was behind the murder of Mr Smyth in his Coulson Avenue home, an upsurge in the number of incidents involving guns is a major concern.

“There does not appear to be any evidence that there was paramilitary involvement,” he said.

However, Mr Poots added: “There has been four or five incidents with guns over the course of the last month so we are deeply concerned about that. We have raised it with the police and are taking [these concerns] to police headquarters, to the assistant chief constable, this week.”

A metal sheet has been used to seal the door of the house and a police cordon was still in place yesterday evening.

Neighbour Lauren Eglinton told UTV she wasn’t sure if anyone was living in the house as the windows had been covered from the inside, with only occasional signs of activity.

“His windows have been covered for about a year ... as if somebody wasn’t living there,” she said.

“Everybody thought there was nobody living there. Sometimes you would see the odd person going in and out, but in a few years we haven’t seen him,” the neighbour added.

Other neighbours who did not want to appear on camera described Mr Smyth as a “cheeky chappie” character who had lived in the property for 20 years.

DUP councillor Jonathan Craig has spoken to police about the murder and said a “very clear line of inquiry” was being followed by detectives.

He said he had met Mr Smyth recently while canvassing in the council election, and knew him as a man who “would have kept himself to himself”.

Less than a mile away shots were fired at a house in Mill Street in the early hours of Sunday morning, but the incidents are not thought to be linked.