Vicious rumours mock murder of teenager
A senior PSNI officer in Co Antrim has described rumours about the murder of the Catholic schoolboy Michael McIlveen as “repugnant”.
Chief Inspector Wendy Middleton, the PSNI operations manager for Ballymena, made the statement a day after the force refused to respond to safety concerns raised by a Ballymena man whose son witnessed the attack on 15-year-old Michael McIlveen.
The PSNI has told Danny Graham’s 16-year-old son Christopher that he is at risk of attack. The father has said he believes his son’s life is at risk.
Several rumours have circulated around Ballymena in recent weeks about the death of Michael McIlveen as well as about people connected to the PSNI murder probe.
Chief Inspector Middleton said: “We are concerned about the malicious rumours that have been circulated about the murder of Michael McIlveen.
“People need to realise the damage that these repugnant rumours are causing to the image of Ballymena and need to realise that they have no basis in fact.
“I would also call upon public representatives and community leaders, indeed I would urge everyone to publicly condemn those who seek to tarnish the name of a 15-year-old boy and those who would use his murder to perpetuate hatred and sectarianism in Ballymena.”
Danny Graham said some of the rumours were directed at his family.
“Some of these rumours are vicious, dangerous and damaging, and people should think twice before spreading them or believing them,” he said.
Earlier this month, Daily Ireland revealed that loyalists in Ballymena were circulating a video mocking the death of Michael McIlveen. The video came to light days after loyalists in Ahoghill, erected a Tricolour on a bonfire with the words “Fuck Mickey Bo”, a reference to the murdered teenager.
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