The mother of a murdered Catholic teenager wept in court last week as a pathologist told a court the full extent of the horrific sectarian attack which killed her son in north Belfast five years ago.
The fifteen-year-old boy was murdered in an unprovoked loyalist attack about 200 metres from his home as he was on his way back from buying sweets with his friends on 10 August 2005. He and his friends were out on a balmy summer’s evening enjoying the school summer holidays.
Crown Pathologist Dr Peter Ingram revealed that Thomas Devlin was knifed nine times, two of the stab wounds damaged the 15-year-old boy’s aorta and a lung.
Dr Ingram said Thomas had been stabbed four times in the back, twice in the arm, and once in the left eye, abdomen and hip.
Two men are on trial charged with the murder. Nigel James Brown and 23-year-old Gary Taylor are denying the murder and the attempted murder of the victim’s 22-year-old friend Jonathan McKee in the same attack on the Somerton Road in north Belfast.
Dr Ingram said that Thomas Devlin’s injuries were so serious he would have died rapidly. Dr Ingram said it was possible that he had first been attacked from behind but he said it was also possible that he was first stabbed from the front and that he was later knifed in the back after he fell to the ground.
The jury were later shown CCTV footage of the movements of the two accused on the day of the murder.
Giving evidence on Monday at last week, Mr McKee described the attack on the two as “frenzied” and “brutal”. He told the jury at the Belfast Crown Court trial that “frenzied would be the best word” to describe the attack on August 10, 2005.
“As it was unprovoked it was scary how ferociously he was swinging at me, and just sort of how brutal it was, more than anything.”
Another friend of the murdered schoolboy told the court he heard cries of pain as his two friends were attacked and stabbed.
Fintan Maguire said Thomas tried to climb a wall to get away from his attackers. Mr Maguire said he managed to escape into the grounds of a school but Thomas was dragged down from the wall.
He described how, as he glanced back, he saw Jonathan McKee being hit on the head with a wooden bat by one man while the other dragged Thomas down as he climbed over a wall.
Mr Maguire told a prosecution lawyer that he hid behind a building in the school grounds and although he could not see what was happening, “there was a lot of shouting and sort of cries of pain as well”.
When he emerged from the grounds of St Patrick’s, he found Thomas lying on the ground looking vacant and “breathing very heavily”.
“There was a vacant expression on his face and he only took a breath every four or five seconds,” Mr Maguire said. Within moments, Thomas was dead.