Police in Belfast today appealed for more help from the public in tracking down those responsible for the murder of a 15-year-old schoolboy brutally stabbed to death while walking home with friends after buying sweets.
The appeal was made after officers released without charge two men and a juvenile, who had been arrested for questioning about the Wednesday night murder in the affluent Somerton Road area off the Antrim Road in the north of the city.
One of the men was immediately re-arrested for questioning about an unrelated matter, following a search mounted as part of the murder investigation. Said a police spokesman.
The Police Service said the murder investigation was ongoing and they appealed for any members of the public who were in the area of the Fortwilliam service station or the Somerton Road on Wednesday night and saw anyone or observed any suspicious activity to contact them.
Talented musician Thomas Devlin was stabbed five times in the back while he and two friends walked home.
One of the friends was also stabbed in the back but escaped with minor injuries thanks to a back-pack he was wearing.
The random killing shocked the middle class area and terrified his friends and other teenagers.
Coming days after the double rape of a 15-year-old English holidaymaker in west Belfast and the assault of three boys with her, the murder confirmed a deepening cycle of street violence.
The murder was carried out by two males, believed to be in their mid-teens to early 20’s, who had a dog with them.
Appealing for help in tracking the killers, Detective Superintendent Colin Sturgeon said: “Thomas was attacked and callously murdered and I’m appealing to the public to help me catch those responsible.”
He said it was an horrific attack which had sent shockwaves through the community and devastated the schoolboy’s family and friends.
“Nothing could justify the murder of a 15-year-old schoolboy, those who could commit such a crime have absolutely nothing to offer society.”
Appealing to the friends and families of the attackers he added: “If you know or have reason to suspect someone who was involved you need to speak to police immediately.
“I would ask them to consider how they would feel if this happened to one of their family members or friends. Those responsible need to be brought to justice.”
Detectives listed several people they wish to talk to who may have information which would help them.
:: Two young males who were in the vicinity of the Forwilliam service station and Somerton Park at approximately 11.00pm on Wednesday. One was wearing a striped top believed to be made by Fred Perry and the other white shorts. They may have been accompanied by two other youths.
:: A person believed to be a doctor who treated Thomas Devlin at the rear gates of St Patrick’s school on the Somerton Road and accompanied him to the Mater Hospital in the ambulance.
:: The drivers of any vehicles who drive along the Somerton Road between 11.30pm and 11.50pm.
:: Anyone who regularly walk their dog along the Somerton Road late in the evening.