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Last Updated: Friday, 12 August 2005, 13:16 GMT 14:16 UK
Murdered boy was 'shining beacon'
Thomas Devlin
Thomas Devlin had spent the evening playing computer games
The mother of 15-year-old boy murdered in north Belfast has described her son as a "shining beacon" in her family's life who would never come back.

Thomas Devlin was stabbed in the back five times as he and two friends walked home along Somerton Road after buying sweets on Wednesday night.

Two men and a teenager are still being questioned about the murder.

His mother Penny Holloway said: "Devastated is just too light a word for how we all feel."

She said words could not describe her family's pain.

"He was such a lovely child, young man, with everything going for him and that's just been taken away for nothing, for absolutely nothing.

"Thomas was just a shining beacon in our lives and it's gone, and he's not going to come back."

She described how she knew her son was not going to survive when she saw him lying on the road, after the attack.

Penny Holloway
I saw him lying there with the doctors working on him and he's just my beautiful boy, who's gone
Penny Holloway
Mother

"I saw him lying there with the doctors working on him and he's just my beautiful boy, who's gone. I just really don't understand that.

"We don't know the doctors who helped Thomas. We know they all worked very hard. We want to thank them for everything they did, the paramedics, the doctors and people in the hospital and the police."

Thomas' father, Jim Devlin, described what the family was going through as a "living hell".

"We're just totally gutted. We haven't got him home yet, but we are doing our best to keep going.

"People have been very good to us and calling around."

However, he stressed that the killing should not deter people from going out.

"People have to be in the streets, be in the villages and cities and take back what's theirs.

"Thomas was the next generation coming up, he was across all the divides and taken away by someone who sought otherwise."

Friends and relatives have left flowers at the scene
Friends and relatives have left flowers at the scene
Thomas' 18-year-old friend was injured in the attack, but not seriously. A 16-year-old boy managed to escape.

Earlier, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain spoke of his horror at the attack.

He said the police were working flat out to try to solve the murder, which came days after the double rape of a 15-year-old girl in the west of the city.

"I am just absolutely horrified by the brutal, appalling and apparently indiscriminate and motiveless killing," he said.

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

The school's principal, Billy Young, said he had been shocked by the death of a pupil who was "bright, articulate and sharp-minded".

"There is a sense of loss at the pointlessness of it - a young man with a powerful future snatched away in a random attack," he said.

He said Thomas had been due to return to school soon to study for nine GCSEs and had the potential to follow his brother to university.




SEE ALSO:
Three arrested in murder inquiry
11 Aug 05 |  Northern Ireland


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