Kevin Conway: Two men appear in court charged with murder

Two men have appeared in court charged with the murder of Kevin Conway in west Belfast earlier this month.

Mr Conway, who was 26 years old, died after he was shot multiple times at home in the Greenan area of Andersonstown on 9 January.

He was linked to an organised crime gang known as The Firm.

27 year old Aidan O'Keefe and 53 year old Fergal Kane, both from Belfast, appeared before Belfast Magistrates Court charged with murder.

The judge imposed an interim restriction on publication of their home addresses because of concerns about a possible risk to the defendants.

Both defendants are further charged with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

When the charges were put to them in court, neither responded but their defence solicitor said they understood the charges.

A senior Police Service of Northern Ireland officer addressed the court and said he could connect the accused to two cars believed to have been used in the shooting.

He also told the court that two guns, a shotgun and a handgun, were used in the shooting but that it was the handgun that fired the fatal shot.

No application for bail was made.

Relaxing on the Playstation

Police told the court that based on CCTV and a tracking device fitted to the Toyota work van he was driving, Mr O'Keefe had linked up with Mr Kane's BMW car in west Belfast.

He said the two travelled in convoy and then parked up a short distance from the scene of the shooting.

Around the same time, two masked men in dark clothing allegedly walked towards the Mr Conway's flat, one was carrying a handgun.

The court heard that Mr Conway sent a voice note to his partner, telling her he was relaxing at home on the Playstation.

The detective said it is believed he was shot dead two minutes after the message was sent.

A short time later the vehicles left the scene and split up, based on CCTV and the tracking data.

Two men, believed to be the gunmen, were also observed walking on foot in the area after the shooting.

Mr Kane's BMW was seized and forensically examined as part of the investigation.

Initial tests revealed three particles indicative of possible cartridge discharge residue were located on the driver's seat, front passenger footwell and in the boot of the car.

The detective told the court that three men made an attempt to get rid of the work van before they were chased off by plain-clothed police officers were observing the vehicle.

He also confirmed that neither of the defendants answered any questions during interviews.

Defence solicitor Phillip Breen challenged the strength of the evidence to connect both accused to the charges.

He argued that the evidence about the two pedestrians observed after the shooting was not put to his clients during interviews.

But the senior PSNI officer said it wasn't necessarily their case that the two walking on foot are the two accused.

The two men were remanded into custody to appear in court again on 20 February.