03 March 2006

Family's anger after police raid on Devlin home

Belfast Telegraph

By Jonathan McCambridge
03 March 2006

THE family of a Belfast stabbing victim said they have been left traumatised after police carried out searches at his home.

Tactical Support Group units carried out a number of raids in the Ballymurphy area yesterday, including at the home of stabbing victim Gerard Devlin.

A number of arrests were made during the searches.

The west Belfast father-of-six was stabbed to death as he collected his children in Whitecliff Parade last month, sparking a series of attacks on homes and property in the area and incidents of intimidation.

Gerard Devlin's aunt Bernadette O'Rawe said: "They said they had information that some family members were involved with petrol bombs.

"They went through every cupboard but they did not find anything. Instead they took away a toolbox and Gerard's coat.

"The family has been left traumatised and upset.

"Here's a man that's lying dead three weeks."

Mrs O'Rawe said the searches went on for several hours.

Sinn Fein MLA for west Belfast Michael Ferguson said: "People today are asking exactly what is going on.

"This raid is insensitive, outrageous and completely unwarranted and tensions are running very high in the area."

A police spokesman said: "While we realise there have been sensitivities and tensions in the area recently, we are still obliged to investigate the numerous serious crimes that have been reported to us. If we did not we would failing in that duty and would undoubtedly be held to account.

"It is not our intention to cause distress, however, the searches are legal and are considered necessary and proportionate."

Last night a 16 year-old boy and a 14 year-old boy were released on police bail, while a 50 year-old man and 15-year-old boy were released pending further reports to the Public Prosecution Service.

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