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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 May 2006, 15:27 GMT 16:27 UK
Five in court over youth's murder
The accused arrive in court
The accused arrive in court
Five Ballymena teenagers, including a 15-year-old, have been remanded in custody charged with the murder of schoolboy Michael McIlveen in the town.

A detective told Ballymena Magistrates Court Christopher Kerr, 19, of Carnduff Drive and Aaron Wallace, 18, of Moat Road said "not guilty" when charged.

He told the court the 15-year-old said "no" when charged, while two 17-year-old co-accused made no reply.

They cannot be named because of their age.

As they were led from court there were jeers and shouts of support from the gallery.

All five are due to appear in court again next month.

Two other juveniles who were arrested on Wednesday evening are still being questioned by detectives.

Michael McIlveen, 15, died on Monday after being attacked in the town in the early hours of Sunday.

On Thursday, Francis McIlveen, Michael's uncle, paid tribute to DUP leader Ian Paisley for his contact with the family and invited him to attend Michael's funeral.

Michael McIlveen died after being attacked in Ballymena
Michael McIlveen died after being attacked in Ballymena

Speaking on the BBC's Nolan programme, he said it was a time for healing in Ballymena.

"I would like him to be there. He was the first one to ring me at the hospital. He is the MP for the area and, to me, he has the right to be there," Mr McIlveen said.

"It doesn't matter what anybody else says, it is what we want. If he wants to come, then he is more than welcome."

He also said he wanted to thank Protestant people for flowers and cards sent to the family.

Relations and friends held a vigil outside Michael McIlveen's home on Wednesday evening.

Flowers were laid and candles were lit while music played at the front of his home in the Dunvale area.

Michael was a pupil at St Patrick's College in Ballymena which held a special assembly on Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein has cancelled planned hunger strike commemorations in Portglenone on Friday as a mark of respect for the family of the murdered teenager.

Philip McGuigan, the party's North Antrim assembly member, said they were also concerned tensions were running high in the area.

"It became obvious to us that there were elements within unionism and loyalism that were intent on causing some kind of protest on Friday night, so we had no desire to do anything that would add to community tensions," he said.


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