14 March 2006

Death threats to girl (10) as feud spirals

Belfast Telegraph

By Lisa Smyth
14 March 2006

A 10-year-old girl has been threatened and told her two teenage brothers will be shot as a violent west Belfast feud spirals out of control.

The death threats were issued to Laura Reynolds as she walked down the street - the day after her brother's friend, 17-year-old Wayne McComb, was shot in the leg after a failed attempt to bundle him into a car as he walked to work.

Wayne McComb and Thomas and Jim Reynolds are friends of murdered Gerard Devlin's son.

A petrified Laura Reynolds has now moved out of her family home and has not been at school since the chilling incident as her mother, Margaret, believes all friends of the Devlin family could be killed as the bloody feud escalates.

"It's completely out of control," said the mother-of-three.

"Everyone who runs about with Gerard's kids are targets and it isn't going to stop until a child is killed.

"Look what happened to Wayne. He was just lucky he managed to slip away otherwise he would be dead and I don't want that happening to my kids."

Both her sons have also been followed as they walked along the street.

Thomas (17) had to hide down an alleyway after he saw a car turn in the road and drive towards him at the weekend and only hours after Wayne McComb was shot.

Jim Reynolds (16) was also chased down the street. He explained: "I was going to a mate's and a car pulled up beside me and I was told that I'm going to be the next one to get whacked. There's a bounty on our heads."

Meanwhile, Wayne McComb has told how he fled hospital as he is terrified he would be murdered if he did not return to his west Belfast home.

"I just wanted to come home to my mummy and daddy where I feel a bit safer," he said.

"I was scared they would come and get me while I was sleeping in hospital. I thought I was going to die when they tried to drag me into their car."

Two days after the teenager underwent surgery to remove a bullet from behind his left kneecap he left hospital.

He is now recuperating at the family's Glenalina Park home while his father, Jim, lives in a ground floor room in an effort to protect his children from further attacks.

The shooting was the latest in a series of violent attacks on the McComb family since Gerard Devlin was murdered in February, and the family believe they have become caught up in the violent feud because of their friendship with the dead man's family.

Following the murder, Wayne and his father were attacked outside their Ballymurphy home by a gang wielding hammers and iron bars. And in a chilling development, Wayne's older brother Ned was then warned by police about an ongoing threat to his life.

The McComb family has already been touched by tragedy - 15-year-old Debbie McComb was killed by joyriders in 2002 and her brother Michael (18), committed suicide two years later.

Mr McComb said: "I'm just wrecked by this. We had no idea what was going to happen to Debbie or Michael but to know that people are trying to kill Wayne is terrible.

"I don't care what they do to me, my life is as good as over, but I want them to stop threatening my kids. It has to stop."

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