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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 March 2006, 13:48 GMT
Police search stab victim's home
Gerard Devlin
Gerard Devlin was killed in west Belfast in February
The home of a father-of-six who was murdered in west Belfast last month has been raided by the police.

Gerard Devlin, 39, was stabbed to death as he called for his children at Whitecliff Parade in Ballymurphy. Four people have been charged with murder.

Since the killing, homes have been burned and people intimidated.

Mr Devlin's aunt said the family was angry at the search. The police said it was not their intention to cause distress but the search was necessary.

Bernie O'Rawe, Mr Devlin's aunt, said the police had told her they were looking for petrol bombs.

"The family is very, very angry and very upset," she said. "Here's a man that's lying dead three weeks. His own young family are only back here about two days.

"His kids are left and we have the police in raiding their house looking for petrol bombs, our family has had death threats put on them."

Sinn Fein assembly member for West Belfast Michael Ferguson said: "The bogus grounds being given for these raids is apparently to search for explosives. So far the PSNI have removed work mans tools from the house.

"This raid is insensitive, outrageous and completely unwarranted and tensions are running very high in the area."

Police have been investigating a link between trouble in the area and the death of Mr Devlin.

Mr Devlin's aunt said the family was angry at the search
Mr Devlin's aunt said the family was angry at the search

In a statement, the police said: "While we realise there have been sensitivities and tensions in the area recently we are still obligated to investigate the numerous serious crimes that have been reported to us.

"If we did not we would failing in that duty and would undoubtedly be held to account.

"It is not our intention to cause distress, however, the searches are legal and are considered necessary and proportionate. We would appeal to the community for any information that could assist our enquiries into these crimes."

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