Stephen Breen of the U.K.'s Sunday Life is reporting that IRON MAIDEN have vowed to support the family of murdered Irish schoolboy Thomas Devlin.Devlin, 15, was reportedly stabbed to death as he walked home from buying candy with friends last August. Devlin was knifed five times in the back after two men jumped him on a north Belfast street. MAIDEN reportedly contacted the teenager's grieving parents, Jim and Penny, last week to express their outrage at Thomas's horrific killing. Speaking on behalf of the band, manager Rod Smallwood pledged to support the family's campaign for justice after reading about the murder on the Internet. Rod posted a message on the website set up to raise awareness of the killing and to celebrate the 15-year-old Thomas's life. The message read: "We are appalled at this senseless tragedy. "On behalf of all the members of IRON MAIDEN and myself, I send our heartfelt wishes and support to Thomas's family. "We also offer our support to his friends and local community." The gesture particularly touched the family because Thomas — a devoted rock fan — was buried in his favorite IRON MAIDEN T-shirt. It's now hoped other top rock bands will pledge their support to the heartbroken family. Thomas's mum, Penny, said her family was "heartened" by the support from the rock giants. Said Penny: "We still can't believe that the band that our son loved so much have offered to support our campaign. "It's fantastic and the last message we expected to see. "Thomas was buried in an IRON MAIDEN T-shirt and they were his favorite band. "We never, ever thought that a band as famous as IRON MAIDEN would visit the website." Added Penny: "It's great to see them taking an interest in Thomas's case because he absolutely loved them. "Thomas's friends have also been made aware of it and they also can't believe the band are supporting us. "We have had messages of support from all over the world and we can't thank people enough." This latest development comes after Sunday Life offered a £10,000 reward leading to the arrest and conviction of Thomas's killers. A number of people have been arrested in connection with the killing, but all were later released without charge. The police have identified the prime suspects in the murder as two young men who were walking in the area with a black-and-white dog.
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