Ian Ogle's mum vows to stand up to UVF intimidation after graffiti targets family members
The mother of Ian Ogle, who was brutally murdered by the East Belfast UVF, has said she is more determined than ever to stand up to the intimidation and threats from loyalist thugs as her family prepares to mark the anniversary of his death.
Margaret Elliott, speaking for the first time about her son Ian’s death, hit out at those behind disgusting graffiti which has been scrawled on walls in east Belfast targeting the Ogle family for speaking to the media and the police about the horrific murder of Ian in Cluan Place on January 27 last year.
The East Belfast UVF admitted its members carried out the murder but said it was not sanctioned by its leadership.
Graffiti near the Beersbridge Road in east Belfast labels Ian’s daughter Toni as a “Sunday Life tout” for doing a recent interview with the Belfast Telegraph’s sister paper Sunday Life.
Margaret, who is 64 and lives in Holywood, said it has been terrible for the family to celebrate Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries and births without Ian, who was known as ‘Big O’ to his close friends.
The family have also had to endure cruel taunts on social media and on the streets of Belfast about Ian’s murder.
“I am upset, because if they have anything to say, come straight to us,” Margaret said. “Don’t write bad things on the wall, they are just graffiti cowards. If they think they are going to lower us to their level, they won’t. We will be strong and we will all stand together because we want our day in court. We will put our head high and they won’t intimidate us.”
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Margaret said she was heartbroken to see the impact the intimidation and threats has had on her family.
“It makes me cry because, why are they torturing the ones that suffered and making their lives even worse?
"They (those behind the intimidation) have got family, I don’t understand how they sleep at night. But why somebody, coming up to the year anniversary, is writing silly things on the wall like children. Some of them can’t even flipping well spell.
“I loved him as my son and Vera (Ian’s partner) first love, Toni and Ryan’s daddy, Christina’s brother, we all loved him in a different way and miss him in a different way.
“When something happens in the family, we all stand together. We will be shoulder to shoulder and we will have our day in court.”
Margaret said she was proud of how her family have stood up to intimidation since Ian’s death.
“I love my family, I would never change my family. I thank Vera for giving my son love and two beautiful children, Toni and Ryan. As our Ryan would say “unbowed and unbroken”, they can write what they want but they can’t change the love we have for that boy and they will never take the respect that everybody had for him.”
Margaret said Ian was a “noisey big hearted giant” and that the family could not celebrate his sister Christina’s 40th birthday because of their sorrow over his death.
Speaking directly to those behind the graffiti, Margaret said: “Stop being cowards, stop trying to belittle the death of a beautiful person and stop making us sadder than we have to be.”
Christina McMaster, Ian’s sister who is also speaking for the first time, said the past year has been a nightmare.
“It has been awful. Every day is like living the same day. Part of you thinks it is going to end, but it isn’t. There is no end to it," she said.
Addressing the graffiti, she said: “I don’t see the point in it, they are not getting anywhere with it. They are just causing more hurt and upset. There is no need for it. Stop, you are not getting yourself anywhere. We are not going to go away, we are still going to fight for justice for my brother. He was a brilliant person and there is no need to carry on like that.”
Toni Ogle, Ian’s daughter, told the Belfast Telegraph that she believes the East Belfast UVF are behind the graffiti.
“It’s been frustrating because we are trying to come to terms with the fact that it has been almost a year since my daddy was murdered,” she said.
“We are upset about that and we are upset because we have not been allowed to grieve because we are still getting tortured.”
Toni says the intimidation has become a fact of life for her family.
“It has been going on since soon after the murder. A couple of weeks after my daddy was buried someone threatened to kill my brother and that is when the threats started, and to be honest it hasn’t stopped.
“It is really stressing my mum out (Vera). She is trying to deal with the fact that her life partner has gone. She is getting upset for us because she can’t understand how anyone can disrespect kids that have been through what we have been through.
“They are just motivating us and the family are more defiant than ever to keep going.”
Ian was stabbed to death at the front door of his house in Cluan Place as he prayed with local pastor Kevin Sambrook. Earlier that evening he had been involved in a clash with UVF members on the Beersbridge Road. The gang responded by sending five men armed with knives and bats to his door. Ian was stabbed 11 times in his back.
Three east Belfast loyalists are currently on bail charged with the murder of Ian Ogle.
They are Mark Sewell (40), Glen Rainey (33) and Jonny Brown (33). All deny involvement.
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