Two men arrested over murder of Belfast teenager

The Irish Times—03 August 2001

RUC officers today arrested two men in connection with the murder of Gavin Brett, the Protestant teenager shot dead on Sunday night.

The pair, from Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, were said to be helping police with their inquiries into the killing outside a Catholic sports club in Glengormley, on the outskirts of Belfast.

Mr Brett (18) died in the arms of his paramedic father after he was hit by gunfire in a drive-by shooting claimed by the Red Hand Defenders (RHD), a cover name for the outlawed Ulster Defence Association and Loyalist Volunteer Force.

The murdered teenager was with friends outside St Enda's GAA Club when he was hit by gunfire intended for Catholics in the group.

One of them, Mr Michael Farrell, was shot in the ankle.

The murder was the second sectarian killing of a teenager in a month - the murder of Mr Ciaran Cummings in Antrim town also claimed by the RHD - and provoked an outcry.

Mr Brett’s father, Michael, who helped treat victims of the Omagh bombing outrage which killed 29 people in 1998, spoke movingly of his son who he claimed "had not a bigoted bone in his body".

Hundreds of people attended a cross-community vigil on Tuesday night at the spot where the young man was killed.

At his funeral on Wednesday, Church of Ireland Rector Rev Nigel Baylor said those responsible for the murder represented the "evil wasteful path ... dead and useless to us all" in marked contrast to their young victim.


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