10 February 2006

Real IRA threat for victim’s relatives

Daily Ireland

Murdered man’s family speaks


Relatives of a west Belfast man who was brutally stabbed to death last week have received death threats, Daily Ireland can reveal.
PSNI detectives called to the Devlin family home in the Ballymurphy estate on Tuesday to warn them they are being targeted by a number of people.
Later that day, a group of men took over two empty houses in the area. This incident was linked to a series of petrol bomb attacks that followed the murder of 39-year-old Gerard Devlin.
The father of six was fatally wounded on Whitecliffe Parade on February 3. Four men from the same extended family have been charged with his murder.
In the days after the killing, a number of homes in Ballymurphy were damaged in petrol-bomb attacks.
Daily Ireland understands around 15 men took over two houses on Tuesday amid fears they would be targeted by arsonists.
They eventually left after being confronted by concerned members of the community.
This was after the PSNI had called to the Devlin home warning his relatives they were under threat.
Mr Devlin’s aunt, Bernadette O’Rawe, called on those behind the threats to leave the family alone to grieve in peace.
“The people making these threats are well-known. Why can’t they leave my family in peace? Can they not see we are grieving?”
Mr Devlin’s family still has no idea when his remains will be returned home. Lawyers for those charged with murdering him are insisting on a second autopsy being carried out on the body.
Two cousins, Paul Burns (23) from Dermott Hill Park and Francisco Notarantonio (18) from Whitecliffe Parade, appeared in Belfast Magistrates’ Court yesterday charged with murdering Mr Devlin.
The men are the nephews and cousins of Christopher Notarantonio and William Notarantonio who appeared in court earlier in the week charged with the same murder.
Mr Burns is charged with murdering Mr Devlin and of causing an affray. When charged the defendant replied: “Not guilty, I have given a full account of what happened.”
Mr Notarantonio is charged with murdering Gerard Devlin, the attempted murder of another man and causing an affray. When charged he replied: ”I have given a full account. I am sorry to hear that Gerard Devlin is dead.”
In court, Burns, dressed in a black suit, and Notarantonio, dressed in a navy jacket and dark trousers, looked at the floor during proceedings. The defendants spoke only to confirm that they understood the charges.
A PSNI Detective Inspector told the court that she could connect the accused to the charges.
The PSNI officer, when questioned by defence solicitor Aidan Deery agreed that the defendants had gone voluntarily to the PSNI and co-operated fully.
The men were remanded in custody to appear at the same court via video link on March 7.

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