Billy Hutchinson arrested over Devlin killing
Billy Hutchinson arrested over Devlin killing

A leading unionist politician is among seven members of the unionist paramilitary UVF who have been arrested by the PSNI investigating the brutal sectarian murder of a Catholic child two years ago.

Billy Hutchinson, a former Assembly member and a leading member of the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP), was among those detained over the killing of 15-year-old Thomas Devlin.

Thomas was stabbed to death over two years ago as he walked home with his schoolboy friends after buying sweets at a filling station.

He was nearly home he was knifed up to five times in the back by two male attackers. One of his friends was also injured.

Mr Hutchinson, a convicted UVF murderer, is currently a community worker in the Mount Vernon area of North Belfast from where the attack on Devlin and his friends was launched.

Up to 30 people staged a demonstration outside the PSNI base in Antrim where he was being questioned.

PUP leader Dawn Purvis said she had been "absolutely gobsmacked" at her party colleague's arrest. Speaking while he was in custody, she added: "It is my understanding that he has not been arrested in relation to the killing of Thomas Devlin but that he has been arrested in respect of things he has been saying recently."

One 24-year-old man has now been charged in connection with the killing while the others have been released. However, it appears that Mr Hutchinson could yet face some form of charge on the charge of withholding evidence. The PSNI said he had been released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.

Urgent Appeal

Despite increasing support for Irish freedom and unity, we need your help to overcome British and unionist intransigence. We can end the denial of our rights in relation to Brexit, the Irish language, a border poll and legacy issues, with your support.

Please support IRN now to help us continue reporting and campaigning for our national rights. Even one pound a month can make a big difference for us.

Your contribution can be made with a credit or debit card by clicking below. A continuing monthly donation of £2 or more will give you full access to this site. Thank you. Go raibh míle maith agat.

© 2007 Irish Republican News