Man shot dead had extensive record

THE man shot dead by an off-duty police officer on Thursday evening had a long history of offending, including robbery, it was revealed yesterday.

Marc Alexander Ringland, 29, died following a suspected robbery bid at a garage on Belfast’s Albertbridge Road shortly after 7pm.

Mr Ringland, who lived off the Castlereagh Road, was jailed for nine months at Belfast Crown Court in March last year but had been released on licence.

His lengthy criminal record also included convictions for criminal damage, driving while disqualified, making a threat to kill, burglary, theft, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Nine years ago he pleaded guilty to a single count of burglary at Belfast Crown Court and was sentenced to three-and-a-half years’ detention in a young offenders centre.

At a subsequent appeal hearing, where he hoped to have his sentence reduced, the judge described Mr Ringland as being involved in “reckless criminal conduct” and said: “For a man who has nine previous convictions for burglary, 25 for theft, two for handling, two for criminal damage and one for deception, let alone three recent convictions for robbery, a sentence of three-and-a-half years upon a charge of burglary cannot be regarded as excessive.”

The family of Mr Ringland are “totally distressed by this tragedy”, their solicitor said yesterday.

“They require some time to come to terms with the tragedy,” said solicitor

Dennis Maloney, who appealed for the family’s privacy to be respected.

He added: “The Police Ombudsman’s senior investigators were here this afternoon, we have just liaised with them and that investigation has just started. It will continue over the weekend and his remains will not be released until that process is complete.”

Mr Maloney said he had been informed of the death of his 29-year-old client yesterday morning and described the shooting as “a total tragedy”.

A 20-strong team of investigators from the Police Ombudsman’s office are looking into all aspects of the incident – including claims that the dead man had been armed with a knife when he was shot.

Speaking yesterday, a spokesman for the Ombudsman’s office said: “The area was

cordoned off to allow forensic examination to take place and a number of items have been retrieved for further analysis, which is ongoing today.

“We have also identifed and spoken to a number of witnesses, and would like

to appeal for anyone else who may know anything about what happened to contact


PSNI officers have access to, and are entitled to carry, their police-issue pistols for protection when off duty.

East Belfast MLA Robin Newton said his son was a victim of a “violent hold-up”

while working in the same shop several years ago.

“This was a disturbing and troubling experience for him, which took some time

to get over.

“However, this much more serious shooting fatality will be an even greater

challenge to the mental well-being of the employees,” he said.

East Belfast MP Naomi Long described the incident as a “traumatic situation

for all of those involved” and also “very disturbing for people living and working” in the wider area.

Police Ombudsman investigators have identifed and spoken to a number of witnesses but are appealing for anyone else with information to contact their

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