Schoolboy murder - 1,000 statements taken

More than 1,000 witness statements have been taken during the investigation into the horrific murder of north Belfast schoolboy Thomas Devlin, it was confirmed today.

More than 1,000 witness statements have been taken during the investigation into the horrific murder of north Belfast schoolboy Thomas Devlin, it was confirmed today.

However, police have still not yet been able to charge anyone with the killing of the 15-year-old schoolboy who was stabbed in August 2005 while walking home with friends after buying sweets.

Detective Chief Superintendent Maggie Hunter urged members of the public to help put the child murderers behind bars during a meeting with the North's Policing Board in Newcastle, Co Down.

She told independent board member Trevor Ringland that, to date, there had been nine arrests, 30 searches of houses and flats, 31 area searches, 980 house to house inquiries and over 2,000 other actions arising out of the investigation.

However the Detective Chief Superintendent said police needed the public’s help.

“Certainly I believe there are members of the public out there who could help us catch those responsible,” she told the board.

“They should provide our investigation team with information on this despicable child murder. I would appeal to anyone who has not spoken to the investigation team to come forward. We need to put these people behind bars.”

Thomas’s 18-year-old friend was injured in the attack on Belfast’s Somerton Road, but not seriously.

A 16-year-old boy also managed to escape.

The murder caused outrage and floral tributes still mark the spot where he was stabbed near Barnageeha secondary school.

The victim, a student at Belfast Royal Academy, was a talented musician who played the horn at school.

His family has played a prominent role in encouraging people to hand in knives during knife amnesties in the North.

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