29 January 2006

Help us catch the killers of Thomas

Sunday Life

'If someone comes forward with crucial information...they will be a hero to us'
Murdered teenager's family back Sunday Life

By Stephen Breen
29 January 2006

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SUNDAY Life today offers a £10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killers of Belfast schoolboy Thomas Devlin.

Thomas's murder in a brutal knife attack six months ago sent shock waves throughout the community.

After careful consideration and in consultation with his parents and the police, we have offered the incentive in the hope that someone will come forward with the vital evidence needed to put the 15-year-old's murderers behind bars.

The £10,000 will be paid for information that leads directly to the arrest and conviction of Thomas's killers.

And any details on the murder that we receive at our office will be passed straight to the investigative team.

Police will today have officers available to take calls.

Anyone with information on the killing should ring the incident room on (028) 90700317 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Speaking to us from their home in Somerton Road, north Belfast, Thomas's heartbroken mum and dad, Jim and Penny, told how they hoped the reward could help bring their son's killers to justice.

Said Jim: "We hope the cash offer can persuade people who, until now, have been afraid to come forward with any kind of information.

"If the reward could maybe just prompt someone to tell police what they know about our son's killing then it would be a worthwhile exercise.

"We will continue in our fight for justice for our son, but people have to remember the person who murdered Thomas will no doubt have the capacity to rob someone else of an innocent child.

"If this initiative leads to someone coming forward with crucial information, then they would always be a hero in our eyes."

Added Thomas's mum, Penny: "I hope and pray that the reward might just be enough to encourage someone to tell police what they know about my son's killing.

"Anyone who can help put these people behind bars will be doing a great service to the people of north Belfast and also, to society at large.

"There are people out there who know who was responsible for killing an innocent child and almost killing another and I would ask them to think about the terrible consequences of such an evil act.

"The attack on my son was both brutal and vicious and people have to ask themselves if they want the people who did this walking the streets.

"The police have assured us this is a priority case and we are quite confident that we will see these evil men in court."

The reward comes after the Belfast Royal Academy pupil's parents appealed directly to the partners, friends and relatives of the brutal killers to also come forward.

The popular 15-year-old died in August, after he was stabbed five times in the back as he walked along Somerton Road in north Belfast with pals.

The teenager's young friend was also seriously injured in the horrific and unprovoked attack.

Although a number of people were questioned about his murder, no one has been charged.

A number of searches have also been carried out in recent days in the Mount Vernon area of north Belfast as police step up their search for information.

It has also emerged that a police poster appealing for information on the killing was recently removed from the loyalist estate.

The prime suspects are two young men seen with a black and white dog.

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