06 February 2006

Killers blasted as ‘scum’

Daily Ireland

by Aine McEntee
06/02/2006

The wife of a Belfast man murdered on Friday last night described her husband’s killers as ‘scum and cowards’.
Gerard Devlin was murdered on Friday in broad daylight after he was involved in a street fight in Ballymurphy which was linked to a dispute between two families.
Mr Devlin was confronted by a number of men who were carrying knives and baseball bats. He was fatally stabbed and died in his wife Aine’s arms.
Mrs Devlin said she was devastated, but was keeping strong for her children.
“The people that did this are scum and cowards. They’ve left a family of six kids without their daddy,” she told Daily Ireland.
Two men were last night still being questioned by the PSNI in connection with Mr Devlin’s murder.
The police were also investigating whether petrol-bomb attacks on several houses in the Ballymurphy area on Saturday night were linked to his death.
The Devlin family contacted the Police Ombudsman with a complaint about the PSNI last summer after Mr Devlin was attacked with a pitchfork and spade. No one was charged in connecton with the assault.
Last September Mr Devlin told our sister paper the Andersonstown News that a bounty of £10,000 (€14,662) had been placed on his head.
He said at the time he was living in fear of his life and predicted he would be the target of another murder bid.
In the fatal attack on Friday afternoon, the victim had called to his wife’s house in Whitecliff Parade to see his children, as he had recently moved out of the area in an effort to ease tensions.
According to Mr Devlin’s aunt, Bernadette O’Rawe, a number of men called to the door and invited him outside for a fight.
“They asked him out for a fair dig. They did this all the time he was about. He went out but he wasn’t given a chance. When he came out there was too many of them, and they had baseball bats, planks with nails in them, bricks and knives. He didn’t stand a chance.
“And when he was dying on the ground, they were chasing the ambulance with a knife and a baseball bat.
“They were still trying to get him, even though he was on the ground dying.”
She said that during the past three years the rival family had tried to take her nephew’s life on four occasions.
The father-of-six had his throat slashed three years ago after being assaulted by two men. He was stabbed seven times in that attack.
And each time, the names of those responsible were made known to the PSNI.
“There is guilt on the PSNI. They could have done something sooner,” Bernadette O’Rawe said.
“Now Gerard’s gone, everybody is sitting up and taking notice. At last something is being done.”
A spokesman for the Police Ombudsman said if a complaint is made about the PSNI to them, they will investigate the circumstances fully.
“We would constantly be in touch with the family about it if they’ve lodged a complaint with us.
“If they feel they want to update us on anything, then they can.”
A spokesperson for the PSNI said, “In May 2003 Mr Devlin was the victim of another incident.
“However, he declined at the time to have the matter investigated by police.
“The allegations were, however, raised by him during a police investigation into another incident which occurred in late August 2005.
“A file concerning these and other allegations was submitted to the Public Prosecution Service at the start of November 2005.”
Local Sinn Féin councillor Marie Cush said people in the area had suffered enough.
“People are saying enough is enough. They want their streets back,” Marie Cush said.
“People want to look to the future and they want to walk the streets safely, and they want their children to play without fear and intimidation.”

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