Belfast Telegraph

£50,000 reward to catch 2004 killer

The brother of a sheep farmer murdered 10 years ago has offered a £50,000 reward to help catch his killers.

Patrick Devine, 51, was found shot dead at his home near Claudy, Co Londonderry, in September 2004 in what police believe was a contract killing linked to sheep stealing and land disputes.

He was hit at least nine times in the head and chest.

The victim's brother, Aiden Devine, said he hoped the reward would bring justice for his sibling and closure for his family.

He said: "I feel I owe it to Patrick and I know if it had been the other way around that he would have tried his best to get justice for me.

"I know it will never bring Patrick back but we need some closure."

Mr Devine, who also worked as a part-time nurse at the Waterside Hospital, was shot as he sat eating dinner at his remote farmhouse in Strangawilly - a remote area of the Sperrin mountains - on September 13 2004.

His attacker fired through the kitchen window and even though he managed to stagger into the hallway Mr Devine was shot through the head at close range as he lay on the floor.

Five people have been arrested as part of the murder hunt. But despite extensive enquiries and a BBC Crimewatch appeal in 2008 detectives have so far failed to find the gunman.

Detective Chief Inspector Una Jennings, who is leading the enquiry, said paramilitaries may have been involved in the "brutal and calculated" attack.

She said: "Mr Devine was well known in the area, especially for his farming activities, but he also worked as a nurse at Waterside Hospital. It is fair to say that some people resented his success.

"It is the police view that Patrick was the victim of a contract killing carried out by an organised crime group with paramilitary links against a background of rumours of alleged sheep stealing and land disputes, although Mr Devine had a clean criminal record."

Katie Devine said her son's brutal murder had brought sadness and heartache to her family.

She said: "It seems as though it was only yesterday. His killing has brought nothing but sadness and heartache to myself and the rest of the family. You never forget and the pain is never ending. I often think about his final moments and why they had to kill him. My heart is forever broken.

"I find solace in prayer and am not angry against the people who took my eldest son from me because I know some day they also will have to answer for what they have done.

"The family would make a direct appeal to any persons who have information to come forward and help us find the truth. We know it will never bring our beloved Patrick back to us, but it will at least bring some closure to know that the people who committed this terrible crime are being made accountable before the courts."

The Crimestoppers charity is to contribute £5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in the killing.

Meanwhile the PSNI said a review of the case had been carried out and additional lines of enquiry were being pursued. Further forensic work was also undertaken but Ms Jennings said more help from the community was required.

She added: "The individuals who did this are still at large. They are dangerous and ruthless. I would appeal to anyone who knows anything about Patrick's murder to come forward and talk to us.

"In the 10 years since Patrick's murder, circumstances and allegiances may have changed. If anyone now feels they are able to talk to us, we are ready to listen."

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