The UDA murder victim, Glen Quinn, was beaten to death by the terrorist gang as punishment for punching one of its older members.
The main line of investigation for detectives is that he was attacked in his apartment in Ashleigh Park in Carrickfergus shortly after he clashed with an elderly character from the UDA, a convicted killer and drug dealer.
A crowd gathered on Sunday night as police searched a house in Carrickfergus’ Blackthorne Park in an operation believed to be linked to the murder.
Mr. Quinn was hit by iron bars and baseball bats in what was supposed to be a “punishment beating”, but the ferocity of head and body shots claimed his life.
Police discovered the barman’s famous body late Saturday afternoon and Sunday launched a probe for murder after sealing part of the Woodburn estate.
The murder of Mr. Quinn, who has worked for years at the Carrickfergus Royal Oak, is the third murder committed by South East Antrim UDA out of control in the past three years. In 2017 he killed former members Geordie Gilmore and Colin Horner during an internal feud.
Mr. Quinn was initially attacked by the main UDA member, who had been kneeling by the terrorist gang last October, after being accused of scorning the organization.
Investigators are believed to be investigating a conversation the murder victim had on Friday afternoon with a woman associated with the loyalist. It is known that she complained to her about UDA attacks on a Carrickfergus mechanic company owned by her friend Joe Dunlop.
He was set on fire on two separate occasions in 2018 because Dunlop’s innocent son Joel was a friend of Geordie Gilmore’s murdered man and is threatened with death by the UDA.
Police are investigating allegations that the woman who spoke to Quinn forwarded her criticisms to the senior member of the UDA. At the age of 40, he is now at the center of their investigations.
Equally crucial to the investigation is the subsequent fighting punch between the murder victim and the member of the UDA, which the locals say instigated the public brawl that is also over.
Later that evening, Mr. Quinn, who mistakenly thought the queue had been settled, returned to his apartment in Ashleigh Park. Shortly thereafter he was stormed by UDA members who beat him to death.
Loyalist sources say that the assault should have been just a “punishment” attack and that Mr. Quinn was still breathing while the gang was leaving. It was not until he left the property the following day that the alarm went off.
Investigators involved in the homicide probe believe that because the murder was rushed, the people involved did not take forensic precautions.
A security source said Quinn’s apartment is likely a DNA “treasure” that will help identify suspects.
The murder victim was popular in Carrickfergus and comes from a respected family.
The deceased father had served in the UDR and two brothers are retired police officers.
On Sunday afternoon, leaders of the UDA group in southeast Antrim, whose members beat Mr. Quinn to death, held a meeting in a social club to discuss the consequences of the murder.
They are concerned that public revulsion will bring renewed attention to the security of the criminal gang, causing their drugs, extortion and money-lending rackets to stop.
UDA insiders say the decision was made to “hang the people involved in killing Glen Quinn to dry up,” as the assault on him was not sanctioned.
An eminent loyalist told the Belfast Telegraph: “If the cops knock on their doors, they are alone.”