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Family of Carrick soldier Boyd murdered in Wales reveal anguish and devastation

Mother reveals her heartbreak at death as police quiz two men on suspicion of murder

By Laura Abernethy

Published 10/05/2016

Soldier Matthew Boyd died after he was found injured in Brecon, Wales, yesterday
Soldier Matthew Boyd died after he was found injured in Brecon, Wales, yesterday

People in Carrickfergus have paid tribute to a young soldier who was fatally attacked on a night out in Wales.

Private Matthew Boyd (20), of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, was set upon in Brecon after leaving a pub to make the short journey back to his barracks in the early hours of Sunday.

The serviceman was found unconscious and injured on Lion Street in the market town at around 1am. He was taken to hospital but doctors were unable to save his life. Two men - aged 22 and 23 - were later arrested on suspicion of murder and were last night being questioned by Dyfed-Powys Police.

Mr Boyd was not wearing his Army uniform when he was set upon. The attack is not believed to be linked to terrorism.

Yesterday, Carrickfergus was left shocked by the news that the soldier had been murdered.

Matthew grew up in Northern Ireland, but he moved to Gibraltar when he was just seven with parents Michelle and David, brothers Darren and James and sister Katie. The young man then went on to join the Army in 2012, when he was just 17.

His grandparents and other members of his extended family still live in Carrickfergus and are well-known in the area. His aunt Elaine Mawhirk, who works as a beautician in Ballyclare, said: "Matthew Ian Boyd had an amazing young life in such a short time. He is with us all and always will be

"He was completely loved by all the family so much. He had such a strong pact with his brothers - they are devastated.

"He was on a training exercise in Brecon and he didn't even have to go. The reason he was there was they were short of men and he volunteered. The training exercise was for new recruits."

Matthew's grandmother Maureen Boyd also spoke out about the family's pain.

"We are a broken family today," she said. "Senseless. No words for that heartache we feel. Woke up today and you're hoping it's all wrong. My heart has just been broken in two."

Matthew's mum Michelle Rogers wrote below a photograph of Matthew posted on Facebook: "He's so beautiful. My baby boy taken so soon."

His brother Darren added: "Broke my heart when I woke up and heard you were gone, but I know that you will never be gone for me.

"You will always be in my heart. We had good and bad days, I just want you here with me. Always in my heart I will make my big brother proud!"

And Matthew's cousin Craig Leitch said: "RIP Matthew Ian Boyd taken from us far too soon and murdered by scum. Proud to have you as a cousin and fighting for us in the British Army.

"My best friend growing up and we might have drifted apart through the years with moving countries, but you'll be forever in my heart until we meet again."

Local DUP MLA David Hilditch added: "As news broke over the course of the day, people have been very sympathetic and have been expressing their condolences through social media.

"The family would be known to quite a few people and the news has been received with shock. It's very, very sad and our thoughts are with the whole family. It's terrible that a young life has been lost in these circumstances."

The murdered soldier's commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Ivor Lopez, said: "The whole regiment is devastated to learn about the tragic death of Pte Matthew Boyd of The Royal Gibraltar Regiment.

"Matthew - or Boyd as he was commonly known by his friends - joined the regiment in August 2012 when he was just 17 years of age. A committed and utterly reliable individual, Pte Boyd was an outstanding soldier with a bright future ahead of him.

"Witty, full of life and with an outgoing personality, he was widely respected and an extremely popular member of this unit. His untimely death leaves a huge void in the regiment and his loss will be acutely felt by all of us. The regiment has lost a great soldier and a close friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with Matthew's family and friends."

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