Page last updated at 14:42 GMT, Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Remark 'led' to double killing

Graves of the teenagers
The teenagers were stabbed to death after leaving a disco

After hearing three months of evidence, a guilty verdict has been returned in the case of the double murder of County Armagh teenagers David McIlwaine and Andrew Robb.

Steven Leslie Brown, also known as Steven Revels, had denied involvement in the killings.

Much of the evidence in the trial came from Mark Burcombe, who was present when the teenagers were killed.

Burcombe, from Ballynahinch Road in Lisburn, was initially charged with the murders, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge after agreeing to give evidence against Brown.

He was jailed in 2008 for two-and-a-half-years.

Mark Burcombe,
Much of the evidence in the trial came from Mark Burcombe

The murder trial heard that Andrew Robb and David McIlwaine were drinking with Brown, Burcombe and Noel Dillon, who has since killed himself.

Andrew Robb is said to have made disparaging remarks about Richard Jameson, the alleged UVF commander, gunned down by the LVF two weeks previously.

A Crown lawyer said Brown "took unkindly" to the remarks, and drove the group to an isolated country road outside Tandragee where the friends were repeatedly stabbed, suffering horrific injuries to their throats and stomachs.

Giving evidence to the court, Burcombe claimed he saw Brown repeatedly stab David McIlwaine as he lay on the ground and, that afterwards, Brown threatened that if he told anyone, he would cut Burcombe's throat.

Burcombe admitted he had not told the police the whole truth when he first came forward in November 2005, after the murders were featured in the BBC's Crimewatch programme, but denied he was lying to cover up his own role.

The teenagers' bodies were found along a country road

He also denied suggestions by Brown's defence that he made up his testimony at the behest of the UVF in order to frame Brown.

The prosecution case against Brown also included a "confession" to a woman known only as witness F, and forensic evidence showing that two tyre tread marks at the scene of the murders matched two tyres on Brown's Peugeot 205 car.

It was also said that pieces of green plastic found at the scene matched the top of an aerosol canister found outside Brown's house; and Brown's DNA was found on David McIlwaine's jacket.

Neither teenager was connected to any paramilitary group.

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SEE ALSO
Man found guilty of double murder
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Man faces double murder charge
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28 Feb 02 |  Northern Ireland
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