Guilty pleas to lesser charges accepted in Devlin murder trial

Only the very basic facts are provided in the BBC online report, and in the UTV version, on the trial of the five members of the Notorantonio family, Burns is apparently also related, charged with the murder of Gerard Devlin – which formed part of a pattern of long-running attacks in Ballymurphy.

On Wednesday morning Francisco Notorantonio, 21, pleaded guilty to manslaughter, affray and malicious wounding. His co-accused, Christopher Notorantonio, 56, Anthony Notorantonio, 50, William Notorantonio, 24, and Paul Burns, 26, pleaded guilty to affray. The prosecution accepted the pleas at Belfast Crown Court.

Not included are details like the refusal of bail prior to sentencing, the claims from the dock by the accused of being “political prisoners”, and of being “stitched up”, nor the anger of the family of Gerard Devlin at the apparent plea bargaining. One other point to note is that Francisco Notarantonio did not seek bail when initially charged on 7th September 2007. Adds Slightly updated BBC report. More in the Belfast Telegraph report.

, , , , ,

  • Jimmy

    It was only a matter of course and procedure that the charges would be dropped to manslaughter. Hundreds of killings have had the same procedure this one was no different.I find it odd that the Devlin family find this legal procedure strange and were unprepared for it?.
    I hope however it brings to an end this scandalous affair,the death of one thug brought a whole community to its knees while some, ‘we know who they are’ took advantage of it to carry out thier own proxy feud on a family that really didnt deserve it, somehow the claims by some of the defendants of politicisation of the trial and the violence associated with it seems to carry a little weight.

  • Rapunsel

    Sorry Jimmy can you please name the thug to whom you refer and who are the ” we know who they are” to whom you refer?

  • Jimmy

    Re; Rapunsel…
    The thug I am refering to is quite clearly Geard Devlin himself,his reputation for bad behaviour-thugery in part led to his untimely death.(although taking no sides here) Nonetheless ‘we know who they are’ quite clearly points to the mainstream Republican Movement in Ballymurphy,PIRA for whatever reasons, who sat on the sidelines and allowed the feral youth of the area run riot, the vast majority of thier bad behaviour directed at the Nortarantonio extended family.
    This was also all covered in previous threads by other posters in Slugger,its nothing new

  • This is just more scandalous coverage aka avoidance of the affair caused when the FRU’s Brian Nelson re-directed Captain Simon Hayward’s effort through John McMichael to assassinate
    ‘Steak knife’ for setting him up on a drug-running charge here in Stockholm at Francisco Notarantonio, Sr.’s expense back in October 1987 when Hayward’s appeal was being heard – what resulted in the former PIRA member and taxi-driver being suspected of being ‘Steak knife’.

    When Gerard Devlin and his family started calling the Notarantonios British touts after the whole affair surfaced a few years ago, it was hardly surprising that they took the greatest offense to it, ultimately resulting in Devlin’s murder.

    Little wonder that the Brits were most anxious to sweep the whole affair – what could have gone back to Hayward’s other dirty deeds, particularly, it seems, the assassination of Sweden’s statsminister, Olof Palme – under the rug.

    Just another insight into what the Brits are prepared to cover up whenever it comes to their dirtiest deeds.

    And the victims and survivors of the Omagh bombing still expect some kind of real inquiry into that tragedy???

  • longshotkickdabucket

    Jimmy appears to blame everyone for this unfortunate affair-except the guys who actually killed Devlin. Obviously these killers are blame-free in the warped world that Jimmy lives in

  • jone

    I too am disappointed we didn’t hear all the evidence as it may finally have settled the vexed question of what was at the bottom of the feud: was it a row over a dog or a falling out among children?

    Certainly either possibility would have shaken the state and several western intelligence agencies to their very corezzzzzzz.

    Let’s hope we hear nothing more of these tedious, self important, meretricious ballbags and their pathetic disagreements.

  • While few posters seem interested in the latest fallout of the ‘Steak knife’ story – the dirtiest bits of The Troubles – history should still record that John McMichael et al. paid dearly for killing Francisco Notarantonio on October 9, 1987 instead of the real thing.

    McMichael became so paranoid over having killed the wrong man that he changed his car frequently, and had a bodyguard protect him, fearing assassination himself by unknown parties, but to no avail, as he was blown up two months later.

    As to who did it, it was anyone’s guess, from the IRA through the UDA to the FRU. The Provos could done it in revenge for Notarantonio’s murder. Then the UDA could have done it, especially when it did not provoke a Protestant backlash, because of his becoming apparently too friendly with nationalists, as his consultations with them about the re-establishment of power-sharing indicated.

    Then the FRU, my choice for the killers, could have done it because he objected to being led around by the nose when it came to killings by its Brian Nelson.

    Little wonder that when it continued, the UDA suspected rightly of Nelson being the problem, but settled on James Pratt Craig instead, killing him on October 15, 1988.

    And so it went down to Devlin’s killing and to the recent cover up trial of it all.

  • Since this is the only thread I can find which is remotely connected to the Rosemary Nelson murder inquiry, and posters can post on, they should be made aware that its hearings are resuming soon, and its first revelations will be that the RUC was bugging her legal work all over the place, apparently a gross violation of lawyer/client privilege.

    The reason, it seems, was to find out what her PIRA clients and the Garvaghy residents were planning about the Drumcree marches – what would be focused on what she was hearing from Padraig Wilson et al.

    Now one does not have to be a rocket scientist to figure out what that might entail, and what the risks were for everyone, especially her, if they started leaking out.

    For more on this, see Chris Thornton’s story today.

    I hope the site’s administrators pay more attention now to this inquiry than they have done up to now.