Terror Groups in Tributes to Bomb-Death Youth

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), November 13, 2001 | Go to article overview

Terror Groups in Tributes to Bomb-Death Youth


Byline: GEMMA MURRAY

FLOWERS, cards and UDA/UFF memorabilia marked the north Belfast trouble-spot where 16-year-old Glen Branagh fell after a pipe bomb exploded in his hand. Security chiefs have insisted that the bomb exploded as the teenager was preparing to throw it at police lines.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan McQuillan said that the youth, who would have been 17 on Friday, was seen running through a Protestant crowd wearing a mask and carrying a fizzing pipe bomb.

Rioting had flared, according to Mr McQuillan, after heavy drinking by Protestants.

He added: ''A masked man was seen running out of the Protestant crowd with a fizzing object in his hand and, as he moved to throw it towards our lines, it exploded, killing him and injuring two people nearby.

''It also injured one of our police officers, standing 50 metres away. It shattered his riot shield.

''There have been allegations from the Protestant side that this device was thrown at them by the Catholics and he was throwing it back.

"We disagree with that. We were there and saw quite clearly what was happening.

''I am very sad to see that death but these devices are absolutely deadly and it was absolutely inevitable that this was going to happen.''

Community worker Eddie McClean declined to comment on whether the youth was in a paramilitary organisation.

He denied that the teenager was intent on injuring police and said that the bomb had been thrown by republicans and that ''hero'' Glen was trying to throw it away.

Casualties in the rioting included 24 policemen, two soldiers and a number of civilians, including two children.

Glen Branagh lived at Mountcollyer Avenue in the Duncairn Gardens area, close to the streets which have seen some of the worst sectarian disturbances for years.

He had just started a course with North City Training to become a storeman.

Friends and family wept at the lamppost where he fell.

Lindsay Best, 16, an ex-girlfriend, said Glen was "the type of person everybody liked to be with''.

''I used to go with him on and off for about a year and a half,'' she said.

''He was crazy in a great sort of way. He would have stood up for anybody. It was just the sort of him to help people.''

Miss Best and her friend, Stacy McAlister, were standing behind the youth when the bomb went off in his hand. …

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