Ulster-born actor Brian F. O’Byrne has dedicated his Bafta TV award to murdered school boy Rhys Jones, whose father he played in ITV drama Little Boy Blue.
Rhys, 11, was gunned down on his way home from football practice in Croxteth, Liverpool, in 2007.
O’Byrne, who is from Mullagh, Co Cavan, won the best supporting actor prize at Sunday night’s ceremony for his powerful portrayal of Steve Jones in the moving series.
Looking stunned as he collected the award, the actor said: “It’s kind of difficult to get an award, to play somebody who is living and who is at home tonight, like the nights of the last 10 years, suffering grief at the loss of their child.”
He thanked Steve Jones and Rhys’s mother Melanie and said: “I would like to dedicate this to your young child Rhys, who was tragically lost.”
The actor thanked the city of Liverpool for embracing the story and expressed his gratitude to the crew “who knew that they were dealing with something that was such a tragedy”.
The actor said he had not prepared a speech, adding: “I’m in shock.”
O’Byrne beat Adrian Dunbar (Line Of Duty), Anupam Kher (The Boy With The Topknot) and Black Mirror’s Jimmi Simpson to win the supporting actor award.