Police appeal for calm after rioting follows estate killing

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POLICE IN Craigneuk near Glasgow appealed for calm yesterday after three days of riots and demonstrations following the murder of a 21-year-old man, writes John Arlidge.

Officers urged residents of the Ravenscraig housing estate, where Douglas Bryce was shot, to abandon a violent campaign against a local family. Four members of the family fled the estate over the weekend after a 200-strong mob attacked their homes.

A spokesman for Det Ch Insp John McKelvie, of Strathclyde Police, who is leading the investigation, said: 'We understand feelings are running very high. But we would urge people to stay calm, be patient . . .'

Rioting broke out on the estate on Friday, two days after Mr Bryce was shot. Residents smashed windows and rammed vehicles outside houses belonging to David and Betty Murdoch and their sons William, John and Alan. The three sons and a daughter are now in hiding.

In the past year the Murdoch family has been at the centre of a series of violent incidents in the area. In August last year, buildings on the estate were badly damaged when a grenade exploded outside his home. Last December, John Murdoch, 35, was crippled after he was shot in the neck and legs. No one has been arrested and the Murdoch family insist it is the innocent victim of a vendetta.

However, locals say the incidents are part of an increasingly violent underworld battle in Lanarkshire that has engulfed the estate. Two weeks before Mr Bryce was shot, Alan Murdoch was released from prison after serving a two-year sentence for illegal possession of a firearm.

David Murdoch, 61, a former crane driver at the Ravenscraig steel works, insisted yesterday that his family would remain in Craigneuk, where he has lived all his life. The residents could try 'but they will not force me out of my home'.

Police have mounted a 24-hour guard outside Mr Murdoch's house.

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