Devlin murder: Laughter finally silenced as brutes begin life behind bars
The killers of Thomas Devlin sat laughing in the dock as they waited for the jury to return their verdict.
After being led into the courtroom, Nigel Brown slouched back in his seat, threw his head back and yawned, while Gary Taylor sat poker straight, smirking slightly.
Looking around the courtroom from behind the glass partition surrounding the dock, Brown made a comment to Taylor who tried to suppress a smile, but then began to laugh with his co-accused.
As the killers shared their secret joke, Thomas Devlin’s mother, father, brother and sister sat directly behind them in dignified silence.
The jury had been discharged just one hour and 20 minutes earlier and it had been anticipated they could deliberate over the verdict for several days, given the complexities of the case.
As the jury filed into their seats Brown, who was dressed in a fleece and jeans, again began to laugh and Taylor, dressed in a smart black suit with grey and black tie, leant back and yawned. They both then looked expectantly towards the jury members.
As the jury foreman delivered the guilty verdicts, Brown looked impassively at the ground while Taylor smiled and shook his head.
Behind them Thomas’ father fought back tears. His mother comforted his young sister as she quietly began to weep.
Judge Mr Justice McLaughlin told the two killers that this was a murder that shocked the entire community.
“One was killed, one was injured and the two survivors have no doubt been severely traumatised,” the judge said.
As the judge spoke Taylor kept shaking his head. Mr Justice McLaughlin told him: “This country with a democratic system and fair trials has heard all the evidence and considers you guilty.” To which Taylor shouted: “It doesn’t mean guilty.”
Neither of the killers looked towards their victim’s family as they were led handcuffed from the dock to start their life sentences. They were no longer smiling.