Belfast Telegraph

Robert 'was an innocent bystander'
Victim's family plan vigil

By Ashleigh Wallace
03 February 2005

The grief-stricken family of knife murder victim Robert McCartney today appealed for people to register their disgust at his killing by attending a vigil in his memory.

Robert's sister Paula urged people from across Belfast and beyond to attend tomorrow's vigil to "show their disgust" at the weekend murder.

Revealing the family circle has been left devastated by the killing of the 33-year-old father of two, Paula told the Belfast Telegraph: "We are gutted by what has happened.

"We, as a family, want to dispel the rumours his death was part of a knife culture or that it was a pub brawl.

"Robert was an innocent bystander. He was a peacemaker who would have tried to diffuse a row and we've heard that when it happened, Robert had his hands in the air."

Speaking from her Albertbridge Road home, she said: "It's very important the people who did this are caught or another family could lose out very quickly. They need to be taken off the streets."

She said she didn't want to comment on reports that republicans were linked to the murder. She said it was common knowledge who was involved.

Robert is survived by his wife Bridgeen and two sons Conlaed (4), and two-year-old Brandon. He also leaves behind 17 nieces and nephews.

Paula said: "Bridgeen is not coping well at the minute and the two boys sense there is something wrong but they don't know what.

"What can you tell two young children when they ask where their daddy is?

"We lost another brother Gerard four years ago. We're still trying to cope with that and now this."

Since the fatal stabbing, outside Magennis's bar in the city centre, a total of seven people have been arrested and questioned in connection with the murder. All have since been released.

Paula, her four sisters and other family members are planning to hold candles in memory of Robert at the vigil.

She said: "We want people to come tomorrow and show their disgust at what happened.

"People are outraged at what happened and we have received great support from the good living and thinking people in the Short Strand."

Tomorrow's vigil is at the shop fronts on Mountpottinger Road at 5.45pm.

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