Belfast murder victim’s family need answers, vigil told

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The family of a murdered Belfast community worker need answers, a vigil in his memory has heard.

Ian Ogle, 45, died after being set upon by a group of men in Cluan Place, near a busy road in the east of the city, at around 9pm on Sunday.

Police have described the level of violence used against the father-of-two as “barbaric”.

Sonia Copeland
Ulster Unionist councillor Sonia Copeland, who was a friend of murder victim Ian Ogle looks at the tributes left in his memory at Cluan Place (Rebecca Black/PA)

There was music from marching bands the East Belfast Protestant Boys, of which Mr Ogle had been a member, as well as the Gertrude Star Flute Band, before a moment of silence.

Mr Ogle’s daughter Toni Johnston said they were grateful for the huge show of solidarity.

“We are not surprised, he was so well loved, we are not surprised by the turnout but so very grateful for it, not only the support from within our own community but from the nationalist community, we are so grateful,” she said.

“We want this sorted and this horror to end once and for all, we want justice. These people who are responsible for this, they are not wanted in this community, we want them gone and we want this kind of violence gone and off our streets.”

She added those responsible should “hang their heads in shame”.

Ulster Unionist councillor and friend of the Ogle family Sonia Copeland addressed the vigil.

Ian Ogle
Hundreds of people gather for a vigil in memory of murder victim Ian Ogle (Rebecca Black/PA)

Ms Copeland also said Mr Ogle’s family needed answers, and made a plea to “those with influence” to assist them.

She added there were “no calls for revenge”, instead “just a broken hearted family, from a broken hearted community, asking for justice”.

Speaking to the media, she described the large turnout of people for the vigil as “humbling”.

“That will give the family some comfort, that there are people out there who actually do care,” she said.

Ms Copeland also urged those responsible for the murder to hand themselves in to the police.

“I would urge the people involved to show themselves to the police and turn themselves in, eventually they will get caught, maybe not in the next few weeks, but they will get caught,” she added.

On Tuesday, Ms Johnston spoke out about her father’s murder.

Pastor Kevin Sambrook
Pastor Kevin Sambrook had been praying with Mr Ogle when he was attacked (Rebecca Black/PA)

Pastor Kevin Sambrook said he prayed with Mr Ogle as he died.

“I have had thoughts and replayed things in my head, but my main concern has been for the family, and of course the community because it has touched them the most,” he said.

“I have to believe I had the opportunity to pray with Ian before the attack took place and was praying with him as he was dying, and the Lord had it that way.”

Ms Johnston also questioned the terrorist group the Ulster Volunteer Force over why they were “protecting” the killers.

In a statement issued to the Irish News newspaper, the east Belfast UVF “wholeheartedly condemned” the murder.

Ian Ogle death
Messages and floral tributes left near at the scene in east Belfast (Rebecca Black/PA)

However, Ms Johnston said that statement is an “insult”.

She said she is not blaming the organisation as a whole, but claimed those responsible were using the name of the UVF, and that the UVF had been protecting them.

Earlier, Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly called for police to “do more” to tackle the UVF and armed gangs.

Speaking after a meeting with senior police officers, Mr Kelly said he had been told that the activities of the East Belfast UVF is “one of a number of priority investigations for the Paramilitary Crime Task Force”.

Ian Ogle death
Floral tributes left near at the scene in east Belfast where community worker Ian Ogle was murdered on Sunday night (Rebecca Black/PA)

Some of the messages expressed anger at the incident, while others spoke of heartbreak at the death of a man they described as a “true gentleman”.

Detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland arrested a 21-year-old man and a 49-year-old man on Wednesday.

They are being questioned by detectives at Musgrave Serious Crime Suite in Belfast city centre.

Later on Wednesday evening, the PSNI said the 49-year-old man had been released on bail pending further inquiries.

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