The ‘horrifically violent’ murders of two men who were killed nearly a year apart in west Belfast have been officially linked by police. Sean Fox and Mark Hall were both shot at close range in broad daylight, and detectives believe the murders were committed by the same two gunmen.
Hall, 31, was shot dead in his family home in Rodney Drive, Belfast on Saturday December 18, 2021. Two men approached the house and one shot through the front window.
Fox, 42, was murdered at Donegal Celtic Football Club near Suffolk Road on Sunday October 2 this year. Two masked assailants entered the club and shot the father-of-two in front of more than 100 people.
Detective Superintendent Eamonn Corrigan, head of the main investigative teams for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), said: ‘I can confirm that detectives are now making a formal link between the horribly violent murders of Mark Hall and Sean Fox.
“After careful review of seized CCTV footage, we believe the murders were carried out by the same two gunmen. We also now believe the murders were carried out by an organized group of criminals who act as terrorists and who may being or having been members of terrorist organizations.
He said police were not attributing the killings to any particular organization at the time, but added that their deaths “bear all the hallmarks of dissident Republican killings”.
“There are a number of similarities between the two murders, including the west Belfast location, as well as the brazen and reckless style of public shootings in broad daylight,” Corrigan added.
Police believe Fox was “isolated” while having a drink in a busy reception hall. “They stayed inside the premises for about 21 seconds. The gunmen fired 20 bullets and we identified several hit marks,” the officer said.
Police said they knew the suspects were riding to and from the crime scene of Fox’s death on bicycles. A suspect was riding “a generic light gray or silver low spec mountain bike”. “There’s a plastic bag on the seat,” he said.
The second suspect was riding “a racing bicycle with a distinctive rear stitch on the saddle which appears to be a Fizik Arione, or a copy thereof… it had white handlebars, a white handlebar stem, pink handlebar tape and white tires. He wore a blue hoodie, dark colored socks and shoes, and light gray gloves.
Police say the same disregard for the safety of the local population was on display during Hall’s murder, when the two killers arrived at Hall’s mother’s house. The men fired from the front window and, as they fled, one of the suspects “turned around and shot Mark’s sister”.
Detectives have also released images of a silver Skoda Superb taxi, registered GM16 YCA, which the two suspects arrived in St James’s Crescent on December 18 last year.
“The taxi was never found, and I urge anyone with information about the car and its whereabouts to contact the police,” Corrigan said.
Images of the suspects have been released and police are asking anyone with information to contact them. Detectives have carried out a number of searches and arrests this week in west Belfast in relation to the two murders.