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13 May 2010 Edition

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Kelly comments on Thomas Devlin case sentencing

Thomas Devlin – stabbed nine times

Thomas Devlin – stabbed nine times

Speaking on Tuesday, after the killers of North Belfast teenager Thomas Devlin were sentenced to 30 years and 22 years in gaol, Executive Minister and North Belfast M.L.A. Gerry Kelly said, “I want to take this opportunity to once again praise the parents of Thomas Devlin for their campaign for justice. In the midst of the most crippling grief they were forced to overcome huge obstacles placed in their way by the PPS, Public Prosecution Service.”
Kelly said their tireless campaign was based on the highest possible motives of ensuring that their son’s killers would be brought before the courts and prevented from visiting this terrible fate on another family. “It is a priority now that policing and justice powers have been transferred to the Assembly that the PPS is made accountable and fit for purpose,” he said. “No other grieving family should ever have their distress compounded by such an obstructive system again.
“The deeply rooted sectarianism that produced these killers is sickening. The scourge of sectarianism has to be confronted at every opportunity by the community and we all have a responsibility to stand up against it.”
“The persistence and perseverance in the most terrible of circumstances shown by Thomas’s parents is truly quite humbling and I wish to extend the gratitude of the community to the Devlin Family.”
Thomas Devlin and his friends were attacked as they walked home along the Somerton Road in the north of the city, having bought sweets in a local garage.
The schoolboy tried to run away from his attackers, but was pulled off a wall and stabbed nine times with a knife.
Gary Taylor, 23, of Mountcollyer Avenue in north Belfast, was convicted of murdering the teenager in August 2005 in what the judge said was a horrifying and brutal attack. He was also sentenced to 20 years to run concurrently for the attempted murder of Thomas’s friend Jonathan McKee. Taylor’s accomplice, Nigel Brown, 27, from Whitewell Road in north Belfast, was jailed for a minimum of 22 years for his part in the killing. He also received 15 years to run concurrently for the attempted murder of Jonathan McKee. Justice McLaughlin told the court that it was an attack on ‘utterly defenceless and harmless boys’.
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