19 March 2005

Belfast Telegraph

Belfast dad was victim of murder, says family

By Deborah McAleese
19 March 2005

The tormented family of a Belfast father-of-three killed in suspicious circumstances pleaded last night for an end to "a wall of silence" shrouding the case.

Stephen Montgomery's family do not believe he was killed in a simple hit-and-run accident.

They are convinced the 34-year-old was brutally murdered and left to die alone at the side of the road.

And the family last night vowed not to rest until they find out the truth behind Stephen's death.

Mr Montgomery's body was discovered at Jamaica Road in the Ardoyne area on February 13.

Police, who are currently treating the incident as a road traffic collision, have questioned several people but nobody has been charged, much to the distress of the family.

According to the family, several witnesses have told them that they saw Stephen being beaten outside a bar and his body left in the middle of the road.

A car then ran over him and sped off, they say.

The family are convinced that members of the community know who was responsible, and have now issued an appeal for anyone with information to contact them directly, or through Holy Cross priest, Father Gary Donegan.

"We are up against a wall of silence, someone is covering up for these people. We need more information, we need justice for Stephen and for his family," Stephen's brother Sean told the Belfast Telegraph last night.

He added: "We cannot come to terms with Stephen's death because there are people walking about who were involved in this.

"Our Stephen was the most happy-go-lucky bloke in the world, he was a real gentleman. He suffered horrendous injuries, the people who did that to him are animals.

"We have had the backing of a large section of the community but there is a small section of people in this community who know what happened, and I would ask them not to hide these individuals."

Stephen is survived by his children Tiarnan (3), Stephen (6) and Amy (15).

His fiancée, Julie Hughes, vowed that she will not stop in her pursuit of justice.

"It is a struggle to get up every morning when I remember Stephen is not here anymore," she said.

"We all just want to know the truth about what happened to him. Anyone with information, please come forward, stop hiding these people, for the sake of Stephen's children and his family."

A police spokeswoman said: "Police are still actively pursuing the death of Stephen Montgomery and would encourage anyone with information to get in contact."

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