Page last updated at 17:29 GMT, Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Profile: Thomas Devlin

A floral tribute at the scene of Thomas' murder
The murder of Thomas Devlin sent a shockwave across Northern Ireland

When Thomas Devlin was killed in 2005 it sent a shockwave across Northern Ireland.

The 15-year-old, the youngest of three children, had been engaged in that innocent summer activity of heading to the shops with friends to buy sweets and fizzy drinks during a session of internet gaming at the family's house.

His life would end just 200 metres from his home in north Belfast, following a vicious street assault.

Thomas, known as Dev to his friends, was born on 17 September 1989 in the Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast to Penny Holloway and Jim Devlin.

He attended Cavehill Primary School and was a GCSE pupil at Belfast Royal Academy, a local grammar school, when he was killed.

His family described him as a generous kind-hearted young man, who liked heavy metal and was studying music.

He wanted to either study law or computing when he left school.

After his murder his popularity became even more apparent, with his family moved by the number of his friends who came to grieve with them and the scores of tributes left at the scene of his death.

Thomas was brought up a Catholic in a mixed marriage, but had friends from across the city's religious divide.

He went to a youth club on Friday nights with his friend, run by the members of Rosemary Presbyterian Church, who also ran the Boy's Brigade troop that Thomas belonged to.

His interest in metal saw him hanging about Belfast city centre, seen as a neutral environment for the young people of the city and the eclectic mix of metallers, goths, punks and skaters who congregate near the city hall at the weekends.

The family have set up a trust fund in his memory, on its website his family said they wanted Thomas's death to be a "catalyst for young people to acknowledge and appreciate the futility of gratuitous violence against young people".



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