Detectives from the PSNI’s Major Investigation Team have today (December 1) made a renewed appeal for information in connection with the murder of a man in Newry last year.
Mark Lovell, a 58-year-old father of three, was murdered in the city on the evening of Thursday December 1, 2022.
The appeal, which comes on the first anniversary of Mr Lovell’s murder, is backed by a reward of up to £20,000 from the charity Crimestoppers.
Detective Chief Inspector Anthony Kelly said: “Mark Lovell was shot multiple times, at close range, as he sat inside his car which was parked outside his home in the city’s Ardcarn Park.
“This was just after 6.30pm on Thursday December 1– a time when people would have been out and about, possibly coming home from work or planning their festive shopping.
“We believe the gunmen lay in wait for Mark before shooting him. This was a planned, ruthless and targeted attack; one which shocked an entire community and which has left a loving family bereft.
“This violence has no place in our society. One life was taken, and any passer-by could easily have been injured or killed by the reckless volley of bullets.”
Today also saw the release of a statement from Eileen Hughes, Mark’s wife, to mark the first anniversary of his killing, which she described as “brutal and senseless”.
She said: “Mark was an only-child. He was his elderly mother’s sole carer. And, since his murder, she has been in hospital, broken-hearted. She remains there still today.
“Mark was a loving son, daddy, grand-daddy and husband. He was a great friend, and he’s sorely missed each and every day. He loved life, he enjoyed a quiet pint and always looked forward to a good concert.”
The statement continued: “Each day Mark made his way to look after his mother in Meigh. Ultimately, this devotion of care was cruelly used against him by his murderers.
“We want to take this opportunity to make a heartfelt plea to anyone with information to come forward, to clear their conscience, and bring these evil killers to justice – not only for Mark’s family and friends, but for the good of everyone in the area.”
Detective Chief Inspector Kelly has also released details of the killers’ movements before the murder, saying: “I believe the gunmen travelled in a black C-Class Mercedes, which was later found burnt-out in the Dundalk area.
“I now know they followed Mark earlier that afternoon to Meigh where he was spending time with his sick mother. Mark was her sole carer.
“New CCTV footage, which we are releasing for the first time today, shows the killers’ black Mercedes at the crossroads in Meigh.
“This is at 5.11pm. The car had false Northern Ireland registration plates, however the number is not identifiable on CCTV. I know the Mercedes was stolen from the Dublin area in July 2022.
“The CCTV shows the Mercedes turning left onto Chapel Road. It immediately takes a left turn into a carpark, where it turns around and comes back again towards the same crossroads. From here, it heads right, in the direction of Forkhill.
“While the Mercedes is turning into the carpark, Mark’s car can be seen approaching the same crossroads. He’s driving a black Volkswagen Golf, and is travelling from the direction of Meigh, heading towards Newry.
“He stops off in Newry city centre, before heading home to Ardcarn Park. And I believe that, when he reaches Ardcarn, the gunmen were already there and waiting.”
Detective Chief Inspector Kelly added: “I am appealing to anyone with information, or who may have captured dash cam footage, to come forward.
“I’m also reminding people there is a reward of up to £20,000 from the charity Crimestoppers for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Mark’s murder.
“I understand that people may be afraid to speak up, but please be assured that information can be given to Crimestoppers with total anonymity.”
A spokesperson for Crimestoppers explained: “To stay anonymous, or to be eligible for the reward, you must pass on information exclusively to the charity Crimestoppers.
“With Crimestoppers, computer IP addresses are never traced. Telephone calls are never recorded, there is no caller line display and no 1471 facility. We are independent of the police and guarantee complete anonymity.
“The reward will only be payable for information passed directly to Crimestoppers and not to the police. A reward code must be asked for when speaking to our Contact Centre or when completing an anonymous online form via our website.”
Contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online.