Belfast Telegraph

'People of east Belfast will rise up over the brutality of my dad's murder'

The body of murdered man Ian Ogle arrives back at his home in Cluan Place, east Belfast, yesterday
The body of murdered man Ian Ogle arrives back at his home in Cluan Place, east Belfast, yesterday
Ian Ogle
Ian Ogle's daughter Toni at the scene of his murder
Victoria Leonard

By Victoria Leonard

The daughter of murdered loyalist Ian Ogle said she believes people in east Belfast will "rise up" in anger after details of the horrific injuries her father sustained were made public.

Speaking as her family waited for Mr Ogle's body to be returned to their home yesterday, Toni Johnston-Ogle (27) said she expected hundreds of people to attend his funeral on Monday.

On Thursday, police revealed that Mr Ogle (45) had been stabbed in the back 11 times and suffered harrowing injuries including a fractured skull in the attack.

The father-of-two, known as 'Big O', was viciously attacked by a group of at least five men in Cluan Place, just before 9.30pm on Sunday.

The attack took place just yards from his family home, and he was left to die in the street.

So far, nine people have been arrested in connection with the murder. Two men, aged 36 and 38, remain in custody.

Toni previously told this newspaper that her family had endured 18 months of intimidation over accusations that her brother Ryan (23) had given a "dirty look" to someone she believed to be a member of the UVF in a bar.

The PSNI has confirmed that one line of enquiry is that Mr Ogle was murdered by members of the east Belfast UVF.

"The details (of the injuries) came as a shock to everyone else, but we were prepared for it," said Toni, who revealed that more people have contacted her since learning of the savage wounds inflicted on her father.

"We knew the brutality of it, but I think there was a lot more anger from the local community when they heard how bad it was.

"I think east Belfast is at a turning point, it's changed.

"My daddy always said, 'You've woke the sleeping giant'.

"I think people will rise up, I don't think the community's going to forgive them, ever. It's been exposed how bad everything actually was.

"A lot of people are shocked, not just about the murder itself, but about what we went through.

"It's absolutely ridiculous that it's taken such a brutal murder for people to be in uproar.

"I understand people were scared, but there's someone dead now. We were scared for long enough, and now my daddy's dead."

Mr Ogle's remains were brought back to the family home yesterday, passing the murder scene, which is covered with flowers and other tributes.

Toni said her family are still coming to terms with the loss.

"We're just holding up as best we can," she continued. "We're still in disbelief, we still can't get our heads around things.

"My granny is cross about having to bury her own child.

"He's coming home today [Friday] and on Saturday it's just immediate family - me, my mum, Ryan, my granny and my daddy's siblings.

"We want to be alone with him because my daddy's siblings aren't taking it very well and they haven't had the chance to properly grieve.

"My daddy is one of five siblings, a father-of-two and an uncle of 13. On my mum's side there are a lot of great-nieces and nephews.

"We know a lot of people want to come and see him, and we're going to try our best to make sure that everyone who wants to say their last goodbyes has that chance."

In the funeral notice posted yesterday, Mr Ogle's devoted wife Vera wrote: "You've held my hand, you've held my heart, we've shared our lives for many years, yet for a moment we'll have to part.

"I'll cherish our memories until we share our lives again. You were my first love and you will be my last. Love, your Vera."

Toni confirmed that the pastor who prayed with her father just before he passed away will be one of three people taking the funeral service at the Covenant Love Church on Monday morning. It will follow a private service for immediate family at the family home. Mr Ogle will then be laid to rest at Roselawn Cemetery.

Hundreds of people attended a vigil in support of the family on Wednesday, including East Belfast Protestant Boys Flute Band, of which Mr Ogle was a past member.

The band will be among those paying tribute at the funeral.

"I would imagine there will be hundreds at the funeral, following the large crowds who turned out at the vigil," Toni said.

"I had so many people contacting me to say they couldn't come to the vigil and they were sorry, but they would be at the funeral.

"I'm sure there will be plenty of Everton, Rangers and probably Glentoran colours at the funeral, but we haven't asked people to wear colours - they may be in the likes of the flowers."

A fundraiser set up to help the family cope with funeral costs has raised nearly £12,000 in just five days.

"It's going to be a big, big help," said Toni.

"It's a big relief - we don't just have a couple of thousand pounds lying about, especially when it's a death that wasn't expected and with no time to prepare. I'm so grateful for everyone's help, not just financially, but in every way."

Toni again appealed for anyone with information to take it to the police.

Victims' campaigner Raymond McCord, whose son Raymond McCord Jr was murdered by the UVF in 1997, said that he intended to meet the Ogle family this weekend, and vowed to support them as they seek justice.

In a statement released to the Irish News earlier this week, the UVF said it was "seeking answers as to who carried out this attack" and "wholeheartedly condemned" the actions of those responsible.

The terrorist group added that whoever carried out the murder "did not do it in the name of loyalism or the UVF".

Since Sunday night, police have conducted 14 searches, visited nearly 200 premises, and are viewing more than 70 hours of CCTV footage.

As they renewed their appeal for information on Thursday, the PSNI said they believed that Mr Ogle had been present at an altercation outside a fast food outlet on the Beersbridge Road at around 8.45pm on Sunday.

Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy said it was believed that the killers had parked a black Seat Leon, registration number JGZ 7406, in Langtry Court, just off Templemore Avenue, shortly before 9.30pm. He said that they then walked to Cluan Place via Templemore Avenue and the Albertbridge Road, returning to Templemore Avenue after the attack.

"Some of the killers got into the car and others dispersed on foot from Langtry Court, through the houses," he said.

"The car was driven along Templemore Avenue, into Major Street and on to the Lower Newtownards Road, before being left at Pitt Place."

He appealed for anyone who had seen the black Seat Leon at Langtry Court, or who had witnessed the Beersbridge Road altercation, or a group of at least five men walking or running to and from Cluan Place, to come forward. All of these incidents occurred between 8.30pm and 10pm on Sunday.

He also asked anyone who was in the Beersbridge Road, Albertbridge Road, Templemore Avenue or Lower Newtownards Road areas between 8.30pm and 10pm on Sunday, including anyone with dashcam footage, to contact police.

And he asked anyone who had recently found discarded clothing or weapons to report it.

Five men aged 21, 22, 31, 45 and 49 and two women aged 35 and 36 who were arrested in connection with the murder were released on bail pending further enquiries.

Two men aged 38 and 36 who were arrested yesterday remain in custody.

The PSNI investigation team can be contacted on 101 referencing 1303 of 27/1/19, or alternatively by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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