Hundreds gathered in Armagh on Wednesday, December 6, to remember Northern Irish man Odhrán Kelly who was found dead in the early hours of Sunday morning. The 23-year-old’s body was discovered beside a burning car in Maple Court, Lurgan on December 3, with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) investigating the incident as a murder.
Four arrests have been made in connection with the crime, including two men aged 31 who remain in custody, and two women aged 43 and 36 who have both been charged with assisting an offender. The pair are due to appear before Lisburn Magistrates’ Court today, December 7.
Detectives from our Major Investigation Team, investigating the murder of Odhran Kelly, have charged two women with assisting an offender. The 43-year-old and 36-year-old women are due to appear before Lisburn Magistrates’ Court later today, Thursday. pic.twitter.com/LmOzmvEH5F
— Police Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon (@PSNIABC) December 7, 2023
Speaking about the incident, Detective Chief Inspector Tony Kelly stated, “My thoughts are first and foremost with Mr Kelly’s family, who are left trying to come to terms with this terrible loss.”
He continued: “While our investigation is at an early stage, I do not believe there is an organised crime link.
“If you were in the Edward Street or Francis Street areas of Lurgan between 2am and 5am on Sunday and noticed any suspicious activity, please contact us on 101.”
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MP Carla Lockhart echoed this appeal for information, saying, “People in Lurgan are still shocked at this murder, and the thoughts of everyone are with the Kelly family as they struggle to comprehend this terrible tragedy.”
She added, “Police have been working tirelessly on the case and it is important that anyone with information can help bring those responsible to justice.
“There has been an appeal for footage that circulated on social media and it would be important that this might be made available for scrutiny.
“It is important justice is secured for the taking of an innocent young man’s life.”
Detectives from our Major Investigation Team, investigating the murder of Odhran Kelly (23) in Lurgan, have made a fourth arrest this evening. The 31-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
— Police Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon (@PSNIABC) December 6, 2023
At Wednesday’s vigil, Odhrán Kelly’s mother Jacqui and brother Paul were joined by family, friends and community members at a service led by priest Fr Colum Wright. Attendees lit candles and let off balloons in honour of the late nursing assistant, with many wearing t-shirts that read “Justice for Odhrán”.
“This is an extremely sad occasion we are here together for tonight,” Sinn Féin Upper Bann MLA John O’Dowd said at the gathering. “We stand in solidarity with Odhrán’s family and friends. A young man’s life was taken too soon and taken so cruelly. Our hearts are broken but we stand to comfort his friends and his loved ones.
“Lurgan has seen so much tragedy in this last year. We have seen three young lives taken – Natalie McNally, Shane Whitla and young Odhrán. Each of those deaths have been a huge tragedy for their families and they carry that heartache every single day,” he continued.
“We as a community have also been hurt by those events. Our confidence, our morale has all been tested over this last year. There has been so much sadness. We have seen lives lost through suicide. We have seen young people’s lives lost both at home and abroad which has caused much sadness for the town.”
O’Dowd made a number of appeals, one of which was for people seen on Close Circuit Television in the area on the night of the murder to come forward.
“The police do not see you as suspects. The police see you as somebody who can help identify the suspects,” he stressed.
“Odhrán cared and loved deeply for his friends and his family…He had hopes and ambitions. Let us as a community, ensure that as we move forward that we ensure that the love and care that Odhrán had for his family and friends is continued. That we as a community reach out to each other and that we set a destiny that young Odhrán would be proud of.”
Odhrán’s uncle Frankie also spoke at the vigil, saying, “We are all overwhelmed and on behalf of the Kelly, the Murray and the Maguire family we just want to thank you all for coming out, for showing us all your love and support. We are really overwhelmed and thanks very much.”
Rest in power Odhran.
This evening, with many hundreds of others, a representative of the Rainbow Project attended the vigil held in memory of Odhran Kelly in Lurgan. All our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time. 1/4 pic.twitter.com/YDtgRFdzu9
— The Rainbow Project (@TRPNI) December 6, 2023
A representative from Northern Ireland’s foremost LGBTQ+ organisation, The Rainbow Project, was present at the vigil, with the group taking to X after the fact to say, “All our thoughts are with (Odhrán’s) family and friends at this difficult time.
“We know there will be concern and anxiety in the LGBTQ+ community about what may have happened to Odhran. We repeat the call of the PSNI not to speculate and that if anyone has any information that could assist them in their investigation, including around any potential motives, they should contact the PSNI or crimestoppers on 0800-555111.”
In light of the tragic events, a GoFundMe has been set up to help Odhrán’s family with funeral costs.
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