Poignant picture tribute to murdered Ballymena man

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A poignant picture tribute has been posted on Facebook by the woman whose house murdered Ballymena man Brian McIlhagga was visiting on Monday evening when he was beaten and shot by a masked gang.

The picture was published on Tuesday just hours after his murder.

The 42-year-old’s image appeared on Facebook next to his friend Ashley Craig who was also hurt in the incident at a house in Ballymoney, Co Antrim.

She posted the picture as she recovered from injuries. Mr McIlhagga was shot and beaten by a masked gang in a “vicious, brutal and sustained attack” as he visited his friend in Riverview Park.

A gang of at least three men forced their way into the home of Ms Craig, a mother of four whose children aged 13 and younger were in the house at the time. It is unclear if they witnessed the attack.

She was assaulted in the kitchen and forced to lie down on the floor before Mr McIlhagga, a father of five, was dragged into the garden where he was beaten and shot in the leg

Despite desperate bids by a neighbour, believed to be a nurse, he died at the scene. Ms Craig, 32, raised the alarm just before 10.30pm on Monday. She is in hospital and the extent of her injuries are not known.

The cause of Mr McIlhagga’s death has not been established and a postmortem was due to be carried out.

It is not known how long the men beat the pair for, but the attack was described as “horrendous”.