Arrests in Devlin murder investigation

In August this year, on the second anniversary of the murder of 15 year-old Thomas Devlin, police renewed their appeal for information in the investigation. Today the BBC reports that among 7 people arrested and being questioned is former MLA, and senior PUP member, Billy Hutchison. The former UVF prisoner also heads a community group in the Mount Vernon area which, in July, received a grant of €4,000 from the Office of the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern.. to replace a mural. There have been no charges brought against any of those under arrest at this time. Adds PUP leader, Dawn Purvis, MLA, is reported to be “absolutely gobsmacked at his arrest.”.. Update Sunday 21st Oct. Hutchison released from police custody.

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  • brendan,belfast

    i just wish that, whatever the outcome, the family of Thomas Devlin can get some peace.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Looks like the PSNI attempting to be seen to be doing something. Sad but true – I expect all 7 of those lifted to be released without charge.

  • hercules

    You may be right Comrade Stalin but I think slow progress is being made towards charging people.

  • me

    Two years later?? I doubt it hercules. The PSNI tend to do this, look how many arrests in the murder out side magenniss’ bar…..still no one charged. These arrests are usually publicity stunts, especially when a ‘name’ is involved. It’ll be a lot of hot air.

  • gareth mccord

    dont anyone care that a party in our government, continues to be suspected and involved in a recent murder inquiry??? But all people want to do is knock psni?

  • Dewi

    Trouble at the cop shop.

  • gareth mccord

    david ervine was invovled with the mount vernon uvf murderers and again another pup/uvf scumbag snake eyes is arrested about a murder from mount vermin. When are the unionist politicians going to stand up against there own and demand the same sanctions as if gerry or martin was arrested???

  • Sean

    when pigs fly Gareth

  • The Dubliner

    “But I do have to question the arrest of Billy Hutchinson. If police wanted to talk to Billy about comments he made, why did they not go to Mount Vernon Community House and speak to Billy there?” – Dawn Purvis

    Because arrested suspects in a sectarian murder investigation don’t make the decision about there they are to be interviewed? Gee, anyone would think that Billy Hutchinson expected a red carpet at the police station, a limousine to take him there, and a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne on his arrival as befits a convicted terrorist/upstanding member of society.

  • snakebrain

    Whether the arrests lead to convictions is debatable. I suspect the result will be sadly uninspiring.

    PUP involvement looks awful for the party, and it’s right to question the fitness for government of individuals who are arrested for any kind of involvement in a serious crime like this. I imagine it’s a case of withholding information, or perverting the course of justice in Hutchinson’s case.

    Whether convictions are secured depends on two things. The PSNI and the PPS. I think the great facilitator of a lot of the condoned illegality in NI has been the PPS. How many cases have been dropped for not being “in the public interest”, etc. It’s the elephant in the living room. I’d be more interested to see reform of the PPS than the PSNI.

  • Comrade Stalin


    Whether the arrests lead to convictions is debatable.

    You have it a bit simplistic. Arrests have to lead to charges, which then lead to files to the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions), which may or may not lead to court appearances, which may or may not lead to convictions.

    I’ll take a wager that the PSNI won’t get as far as charging anyone that they’ve lifted.

    How many cases have been dropped for not being “in the public interest”, etc.

    Previously the DPP was a department within the PSNI, but I doubt the rate of prosecutions was any more frequent at that time.

    I’d be more interested to see reform of the PPS than the PSNI.

    It has only just been set up!

  • whatonearth

    Its all very weird and I think a slight publicity stunt by the police, as someone said, trying to ensure everyone knows they are doing something.

    Hutchinson has been very outspoken about the murder claiming that everyone knows who did it, that they live outside mount vernon and the police should act…seems they are – by finding out how he knows what he does and if it is fact based evidence, does seem a little extreme to arrest him to find out though.

    I would be surprised if charges come especially against him unless he has proof about one or two of the others who have been arrested.

  • Rory

    “…it’s right to question the fitness for government of individuals who are arrested for any kind of involvement in a serious crime…”

    No, Snakebrain, it is not right to so do. It may well be an automatic response but that does not make it right. Indeed by very virtue of the way that our visceral instincts tend to effect reflex prejudicial assumptions it is all the more important that we do not question their fitness on the basis of an arrest alone, or indeed, even if charges are brought.

    In questions of criminality it is vital, in order that freedom under law might prevail, that the citizen makes the assumption that the other citizen is innocent, however abhorrent an indidual that other citizen might be.

    The great danger of law is always the danger from those into whose hands it is entrusted.

    By all means have the courage to shoot a murdering, sectarian psycopath yourself and take the consequenes and humanity will bless you for it, but if you leave it to law, then you must defend his right to presumption of innocence “for thine own safety’s sake”.

  • hercules

    This looks like a ‘shake and annoy the PUP/UVF’ strategy, until they take the view that the PSNI hassle isn’t worth it for their new improved public image and order (make an offer that can’t be refused) to the murderers dog soldiers to co-operate fully with the PSNI.

  • Fuiseog

    CIRA in Armagh last week, UFF in Carrick before that, this week the UVF in Belfast, hmmm wonder who is next in the shake, rattle and roll PSNI/MI5 roadshow.

    Answers on a postcard … OFMDFM Stormount Buildings …

  • whatever

    This is beyond weird, while Billy Hutchinson has always been seen as more of a militant type politician, much like gerry kelly, he has been nothing if not clear on this murder and has even facilitated meetings including police, mount vernon residents and the devlin family even.

    I can only guess this centralised role has meant he has become stuck in the middle with information now useful to the police.

  • K man

    Dear dear, were all such a cynical bunch aren’t we?

    What Exactly is political policing? Is there an Assistant Chief con for the Politics department? Are politicians somehow immune from the law? Just because EVIDENCE exists implementing them in a crime, they should be exempt from scrutiny or arrest? Just because they happen to be a politician then its a publicity stunt?

    Political Policing! they chant over and over. The only thing making the Policing political, is the interfering politicians…

  • The Penguin

    I think for the first time ever I find myself in total agreement with you. Without presumption of innocence we sink to the level of kangaroo courts and lynch mobs. Soon it’s,”Let’s hang the fucker with the squinty eyes, he looks like a pervert”. In short, anarchy.

  • God help us

    yeah, until you hear all the facts, give the guy a break. How would you like it, if you were in this situation. He does a difficult job in whats traditionally a volatile estate, for reasons everyone knows. He’s an intelligent guy, who wants to rebuild places like mount vernon, which puts him in sh*t environments sometimes. There’s too much, what id call self righteousness and quick comments in this country unfortunately.

  • gareth mccord

    [Keep it civil! – edited moderator]

  • billymac

    “Previously the DPP was a department within the PSNI, but I doubt the rate of prosecutions was any more frequent at that time.”


  • willy

    to Mc Cord

    Bily has NOT be arrested for the killing,but is helping them with the comments regarding the killing..

    And how was David Ervine invloved mith the mount vernon killers???

  • gareth mccord

    WILLY,like all pup members they all cover and give alibis for their murdering scum in the uvf and all deny that the uvf were to blame??
    So if someone was to hamper a murder investigation and deny what the dogs on the street know, then they are involved in the murder circle. Like i say the ones who have done this deserve nothing but the death penalty(within the law)!! Just because someone takes off the balaclava and puts on a suit doesnt mean they are still not involved in the murder and the cover up.

  • PeaceandJustice

    I hope the family of Thomas Devlin get justice. I also look forward to hearing about the PSNI arresting Sinn Fein/IRA MLAs in relation to the murder and injuries caused to thousands of people by their death squads.

    If it’s acceptable to arrest a member of the PUP, then the PSNI needs to question those Sinn Fein/IRA politicians involved in the murder of their neighbours. Or will they continue to get away with murder because they are now in Government?

  • gareth mccord

    Peaceandjustice i wish people like you would wake up and realise that no member of the pup/uvf murder teams will ever see court the same as s.f./ira because of one thing that rules this world MONEY!!

  • Comrade Stalin



    Go on, enlighten me. While you’re at it, ensure you account for any differences in cases brought to court but either thrown out or found not guilty.


    Bily has NOT be arrested for the killing,but is helping them with the comments regarding the killing..

    Wise up. When the police arrest someone, they have to state what crime they are arrested on suspicion of. Do you think they said “Billy, we’re arresting you so that you can assist us with comments about the killing” ? More likely they arrested on suspicion of withholding information. If they wanted to, they could try to get him done for that, as he has said in public that “everyone”, presumably including him, knows who the killers are.

  • Cadiz

    “I can only guess this centralised role has meant he has become stuck in the middle with information now useful to the police.”

    Often as bad as being stuck in the middle with information the PSNI simply do not want to use.

    I can definitely assure you that can be equally unpleasant for the ‘knower’.

    The PSNI are as vulnerable to politics as their colleagues in Chesire or Staffordshire.

    Immigration is usually a police no-no. For example, …

    The PSNI certainly made it clear they didn’t want any intelligence relating to Operation Quest or Operation Gladiator (in the RoI).

    The Home Office would also not have approved of the PSNI exposing eastern bloc criminals at the heart of Work Permits (UK) in Sheffield.

    So the PSNI will give glowing reviews of NI firms which are in breach of their operating contracts with the Home Office.

    The truth often being that the victims of these tolerated scams had to pay a year’s wages up-front to a agent.

    And in effect were working for a year (for free) to break-even, and that is akin to open slavery.

  • billymac


    The DPP have never, ever been under PSNI or RUC control, or a “department within”. The appointment of the DPP is a judicial one (the Attorney General) with no input from police whatsoever. The PPS (Public Prosecution Service) is little more than a rebranding of the former office of the DPP. They even share the same website:

    Perhaps your confusion stems from the fact that police inspectors used to prosecute minor cases (shoplifting, vandalism etc) in the magistrates court. It was in the interests of releasing officers for policing duties that the police themselves lobbied for the DPP/PPS to take over all prosecutions. This transfer of summary cases is almost complete. It is now very rare to see police officers prosecuting cases in court at all. The police have never – repeat never- been responsible for taking decisions on whether or not to prosecute serious criminal cases, or any case with the remotest possibility of political involvement.
    There is not even the slightest suggestion of any police control over DPP/PPS policy, indeed one of the major difficulties has always been a lack of understanding and co-operation between the two bodies.

    As far as the issue of comparing your imagined previous system with the current situation goes, your misunderstanding of the previous system means a comparison is meaningless.

    In relation to cases dismissed or where a defendant is acquitted, that is a matter for the judge or jury in any particular case. The prosecutor decides on the charge, the police present the evidence and the defendant gets his or her opportunity to mount a defence. The judge /jury then makes a decision having considered the facts before them. As each case is manifestly different than any other, I am at a loss to work out what comparisons can be made and what possible use they would be anyway.

    I hope this goes some way to enlightening you. If not feel free to come back. I will try to simplify it even further.

  • Comrade Stalin

    billymac, I misread you the first time round. Sorry about that, and thank you for the informative clarification.

  • willy

    So billy is released without charge!! That would mean they have nothing on him.He will be back in the mount vernon community house monday as per!

  • billymac


    By way of further enlightenment – this old article from the Pat Finnucane Centre describes the historic legal position of the DPP in Northern Ireland, prior to the establishment of the PSNI, hence the frequent references to the RUC.

  • gareth mccord

    no willy your wrong [Play the ball! – edited moderator]

  • gareth mccord

    For all you muppets who think that the dpp pps or psni and mi5 sb or uvf are different organisations wise up and ask yourselfs one question?? Who pulls the strings on the positions in each group? Has the penny dropped??

  • billymac


    No problem, but a clear understanding of the issues discussed on this site is often muddled by wrongful assertions which then assume the status of “facts”. I only wish to clarify what the position is to inform the debate.


    If he is released without charge, it may mean the investigation is continuing, that the DPP considers there is insufficient evidence to sustain a successful prosecution or that Billy has satisfied the police of his complete innocence.

  • giveitarest

    gareth mccord

    I actually dont even have an opinion on this issue but god do you bore me stupid, with repetitive ranting and incoherent nonsensical propoganda.

    These type of comments actually stifle debate as they dont add anything and would actually put me off using this site.

  • billymac


    Yes I know, it’s the Illuminati and the Bilderberg Group again. The Chief Constable and the head of MI5 are really big green lizards in human form. Thank God for people like you keeping a watchful eye on these things. I wish I had your insight on these isues, everything would be so s i m p l e.


    I think it’s long past time the moderators considered the detrimental effect that Gareth McCord has on discussions.

  • willy

    [keep to the ball that’s already on the pitch – edited moderator]

  • gareth mccord

    most people on this site write with great puntuation and fancy phrases but very few write with what is actually happening? I challenge anyone to prove that anything that i have ever written is wrong as unlike alot of snobs on this site i can back up my claims with the facts that have and are happening and not some hearsay and security spin. Why is it that when i say the truth about uvf/pup scumbags that it is constantly edited but yet when slanderous and lies that some snobs and uvf sympathisers write about my families fight for justice is ignored by the moderators??? You can only say or speak out when YOU know whats the truth and not on what you hear by women over the garden fence!
    As for the record of the billy snake eyes release the facts are he is a convicted murdering piece of **** who deserves the death penalty(within the law).But again another uvf arrest and no charges.But if you look back at the arrests over the last 30 killings of the uvf CEASEFIRE their has been a few arrests but NOBODY CHARGED?? Now even the most well educated and well written(not like me) would have to agree that this is a trend that means only one thing “THEY ARE WELL PAID AND WELL LOOKED AFTER BY HER MAJESTIES SECURITY SERVICES”!!! But i bet their is people on this site that actually believe that billy snake eyes like davy denial ervine are and were nothing to do with anything even though they are on record saying “it wasnt the uvf” after each murder even though the police and the dogs on the street have told the families who did it but the pup continue to deny and cover for uvf murders!! Do people not realise that it is not a coincidence that all public and secret inqueries into killing here have not resulted in justice for any family??
    Do people not realise that mark haddock was in court over 100 times and convicted but only recieved 1 custodial sentance and many more like him but yet people still say that the dpp and the judges are not politically controlled. MY ARSE
    I might not have the puntuation skills and polite way of writing but i make no apology for writing something people find hard to read and believe and that is the TRUTH!(with the facts to back it up)

  • gareth mccord

    [A reminder of the Slugger Commenting Policy – And that’s a yellow card – edited moderator]

  • tweedledee


    Why is it that when i say the truth about uvf/pup scumbags that it is constantly edited but yet when slanderous and lies that some snobs and uvf sympathisers write about my families fight for justice is ignored by the moderators???

    Double standards is one answer I can think of.

    Your family’s fight for justice makes for uncomfortable reading for some. Their reactions expose their own contempt for the truth.

  • The thing that amazes me is what would make the police think that convicted double murderer Billy Hutchinson could in any way be capable of, or having knowledge of, murder. Funny old world, eh peace processsors?