Thirty years for teenage murders of David McIlwaine and Andrew Robb

Thirty years for teenage murders 
A man has been jailed for at least 30 years for the murders of two teenagers in County Armagh nine years ago.

28-year-old Steven Leslie Brown, also known as Steven Revels, murdered teenagers David McIlwaine and Andrew Robb in February 2000.

On Friday, the judge said they "ranked amongst the most gruesome murders of the past 40 years in Northern Ireland".

Outside court, the father of David McIlwaine said he believed other people were involved in the death of his son. He added that he had asked for a meeting with Steven Brown.

When Brown was convicted last month, the judge, Mr Justice Gillen, said that having watched him give evidence, he had "no doubt whatsoever" that he had seen a man "whose hands had been engaged in the executions of these two young victims".

‘Horrific injuries’

Much of the evidence in the trial came from Mark Burcombe, who was present when the teenagers were killed.

Burcombe, from Ballynahinch Road in Lisburn, was initially charged with the murders, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge after agreeing to give evidence against Brown.

He was jailed in 2008 for two-and-a-half-years.

The murder trial heard that Andrew Robb, 19, and David McIlwaine, 18, were drinking with Brown, Burcombe and Noel Dillon, who has since killed himself.

Andrew Robb is said to have made disparaging remarks about Richard Jameson, the alleged UVF commander, gunned down by the LVF two weeks previously.

A Crown lawyer said Brown "took unkindly" to the remarks, and drove the group to an isolated country road outside Tandragee where the friends were repeatedly stabbed, suffering horrific injuries to their throats and stomachs.

Giving evidence to the court, Burcombe claimed he saw Brown repeatedly stab David McIlwaine as he lay on the ground and, that afterwards, Brown threatened that if he told anyone, he would cut Burcombe’s throat.

Burcombe admitted he had not told the police the whole truth when he first came forward in November 2005, after the murders were featured in the BBC’s Crimewatch programme, but denied he was lying to cover up his own role.

He also denied suggestions by Brown’s defence that he made up his testimony at the behest of the UVF in order to frame Brown.

The prosecution case against Brown also included a "confession" to a woman known only as witness F, and forensic evidence showing that two tyre tread marks at the scene of the murders matched two tyres on Brown’s Peugeot 205 car.

It was also said that pieces of green plastic found at the scene matched the top of an aerosol canister found outside Brown’s house; and Brown’s DNA was found on David McIlwaine’s jacket.

Neither teenager was connected to any paramilitary group.

(taken from bbc website)