THE MOTHER of murdered father-of-two Stephen Carson told the Andersonstown News last October that the gang targeting him would have to “shoot me as well” if they followed through on their threat to kill him.

Mr Carson also said that he feared his life was under threat from a group calling itself the West Belfast INLA.

Following his release from Magilligan prison, where he served two and half years for robbery, Mr Carson spoke of how his life was “on hold” after the death threat was made against him.

28-year-old Mr Carson was having a meal with his partner and nine-year-old son on Thursday night when three men carrying a hammer and shotgun burst into his Walmer Street home, off the Ormeau Road. He was shot in the head through the door of the bathroom.

Detective Superintendent Kevin Geddes described Mr Carson’s murder as “cold-blooded and brutal”.

Stephen Carson spoke to the Andersonstown News from his mother’s O’Neill Street home in the Clonard area last October telling us how he wanted to “get on with my life”.

“I’ve just been released from Magilligan,” said Mr Carson. “Just before I was getting out the prison liaison officer told me that a threat against my life had been given to Base 2 (a prisoners’ support group) from the West Belfast INLA.

“I don’t know why or where this is coming from and all I want is to get on with life, get back on my feet. I can’t even stay with my mum, I’m staying with a friend, keeping my head down as everything now is put on hold. I can’t go nowhere, I can’t see my kids. I just want to ask those behind the threat to make themselves known, to come forward.”

Mr Carson said that he believed those behind the threat were members of a criminal gang led by former INLA members linked to the April 2013 murder of 26-year-old Kieran McManus, who was a close friend of his.

“There was an altercation in Turf Lodge a few years back and maybe this is where all of this is coming from,” he said.

The Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP), the political wing of the INLA, denied that the threat against Mr Carson had come from them and said they had assured him that this was the case.

At the time of our interview Mr Carson’s mother Bernie told us that she’d be willing to meet with those who had threatened her son’s life and defiantly declared: “They’ll have to shoot me as well!”

“We’ve never contacted the Andersonstown News for anything, but we’ve no other choice here,” she added.

“We can’t just sit back and wait on them coming to the door or getting Stephen in the street. Stephen broke into houses and that’s bad enough, I don’t condone what he did and I never went near him all the time he was in jail, I was so angry at him. But I don’t think that’s something to kill you for.”