Irish Republican News · December 21, 2012
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Family’s nightmare as retrial expected in ‘Micky Bo’ murder
Family’s nightmare as retrial expected in ‘Micky Bo’ murder

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A retrial is to be sought in the case of three Ballymena men whose convictions were quashed this week for the 2006 sectarian murder of Catholic teenager Michael McIlveen.

The Catholic schoolboy, known locally as ‘Micky Bo’, was chased and beaten in Ballymena in May 2006. He was beaten with a baseball bat and kicked as he lay defenceless in an alleyway.

On Wednesday, the Court of Appeal ruled that guilty verdicts against Aaron Wallace, Christopher Kerr and Jeff Lewis for killing Michael were unsafe. It said this was due to flaws in how the jury was directed.

It means only one man is currently convicted of murdering the 15-year-old.

The Court of Appeal was told that, in reaching its decision to seek a retrial, there had been consultation with the McIlveen family and the Director of Public Prosecutions, Barra McGrory.

The Court of Appeal will not make a ruling on whether there is to be a retrial until 7 January in order for the defence to make written submissions.

Michael’s heartbroken family have said his mother may not be able to re-live the tragedy by sitting through another trial. His sister Jodie McIlveen said they were “totally unprepared” for yesterday’s news.

“We are just in shock,” she said.

“It’s left us reliving the whole thing again. It’s breaking our hearts. What more do they want from us?”

Ms McIlveen said her mother Gina and the family would never get over Michael’s death, but had hoped it would become easier over time.

“My mum has said she couldn’t sit through it again,” she said. “The rest of us will be there. We’ll stick by Michael.”

It will be the third murder trial the family will have to go through.

The original trial began in 2008 but had to be abandoned after seven weeks of evidence and a second trial began the following month.

Michael’s mother Gina and sister Jodie attended court every day in the company of other family members.

The jury heard about tensions between young people from different religious backgrounds in the County Antrim town and that Michael and two Catholic friends had been chased through Ballymena by a gang of young Protestants before being attacked in an alley.

A postmortem examination revealed that the schoolboy died from a blood clot on his brain as a result of skull fractures caused by “at least one blow to both sides from a blunt weapon”, either by a baseball bat or by kicking and stamping.

Michael also had multiple bruising to the brain.

In the midst of their grief the McIlveen family called for no retaliation.

But after the four men were sentenced for Michael’s murder the McIlveen family said they were disappointed at the minimum tariffs they had been given.

“We all believe that life should mean life,” they said.

“Michael lived for 15 years and not one of the defendants will serve this length of time for his death.”

© 2012 Irish Republican News