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Officer tells of run-in with hostile Devlin stab accused

By Paul Higgins and Deborah McAleese

A man charged with the murder of schoolboy Thomas Devlin was allegedly seen throwing fireworks at cars two days after the killing, a jury has heard.

Constable Mark McAllister told the Belfast Crown Court jury that officers were called to Dunlambert Park on Friday August 12, 2005 after neighbours complained about youths throwing fireworks and that when he got there, he spoke to Nigel Brown about it.

The officer said when he had a “brief conversation” with Brown, he was acting “very aggressively towards me”, and appeared to be heavily intoxicated with either alcohol or drugs, adding that: “I didn't get too close for fear that he was going to attack me.”

Brown (26), from the Whitewell Road, is charged alongside Gary Taylor (23), from Mountcollyer Avenue, both north Belfast, with murdering 15-year-old Thomas on August 10 2005, attempting to murder his friend Jonathan McKee and attempting to cause him grievous bodily harm.

The jury has already heard that Thomas, Jonathan and another friend were attacked by two men armed with a bat and a knife and walking a dog as they went along the Somerton Road, north Belfast.

Thomas died as a result of stab wounds while Jonathan was treated for a single stab wound to the abdomen and a bump on the back of the head.

It is the Crown case that Brown was armed with the bat while Taylor had the knife.

Meanwhile two possible paths walked by the two alleged murderers before the killing, and two potential escape routes after, were presented to the jury at Belfast Crown Court.

A detective sergeant told the court he had timed all four routes from Ross House in the Mount Vernon estate where both accused lived at the time, to the Somerton Road where Thomas was murdered and back to Ross House.

He said the first route to the murder scene took 10 minutes and 26 seconds at a normal walking pace, while the second route to the murder scene took 13 minutes and four seconds.

The detective sergeant said that it then took nine minutes and 20 seconds to return to Ross House via one potential escape path and 12 minutes and five seconds for the other possible way back.

The jury had previously watched CCTV footage taken from the block of flats showing the alleged killers leaving together 15 minutes before the murder.

Brown and Taylor both deny murdering Thomas and attempting to kill his friend Jonathan McKee on August 10, 2005.

At hearing.

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