Two men are to stand trial for the murder of north Belfast schoolboy Thomas Devlin, a judge has ruled.
Gary Taylor (22) and Nigel Brown (25) were both returned to the Crown Court accused of killing the 15-year-old in a knife attack near his home in August 2005.
Taylor of Ross House, Mount Vernon, and Brown, formerly of Whitewell Road, both in Belfast, are also each charged with the attempted murder and wounding of Thomas’ friend Jonathan McKee with intent.
The boys were attacked as they returned from a late night trip to buy sweets at a garage in the Fortwilliam area of the city.
During a preliminary inquiry hearing at Belfast Magistrates Court yesterday a prosecution barrister argued a prima facie case had been established against Taylor and Brown.
It was claimed that police reconstructions based on CCTV footage of the suspects fitted closely with when Thomas was stabbed to death. A London-based Treasury counsel who studied the evidence described it as “compelling”, the court heard.
Defence lawyers claimed it was not strong enough, with a senior Crown counsel in Northern Ireland said to back this assessment.
But after taking a week to study the papers District Judge George Conner said he was satisfied there was enough material to put Taylor and Brown on trial.
With Thomas’ mother Penny Holloway in the public gallery, the accused appeared together in the dock to hear his decision.
Both men spoke only to confirm they did not want to say anything in response to the charges or give any evidence.
They were remanded in custody to go before Belfast Crown Court on a date to be fixed.