| 6.8°C Dublin

fight for justice Heartbroken family says 'love' for murdered Ian Ogle will beat bullies running hate campaign

As the second anniversary of the brutal murder approaches, we speak to the three main women in Ian’s life - his mum, his wife and his daughter.

Close

Ian’s wife Vera (left) and mother Margaret are still seeking justice two years on from the murder

Ian’s wife Vera (left) and mother Margaret are still seeking justice two years on from the murder

Ian Ogle’s mother Margaret sheds tears at a memorial to her son

Ian Ogle’s mother Margaret sheds tears at a memorial to her son

Ian Ogle's daugher Toni Ogle-Johnston

Ian Ogle's daugher Toni Ogle-Johnston

Ian’s wife Vera (right) and mother Margaret are still seeking justice two years on from the murder

Ian’s wife Vera (right) and mother Margaret are still seeking justice two years on from the murder

Ian Ogle's wife Vera

Ian Ogle's wife Vera

/

Ian’s wife Vera (left) and mother Margaret are still seeking justice two years on from the murder

The family of Ian Ogle say “love” will triumph over a hate campaign that’s been running two years after he was murdered.

As the second anniversary of the brutal murder approaches, we speak to the three main women in Ian’s life, his mum, his wife and his daughter.

During our time together the brave trio – who continue to fight for justice for Ian – shed tears as well as laughter as they swap stories about the popular loyalist community worker.

The word ‘love’ is mentioned repeatedly and their love for Ian makes them a formidable team who support each other and drive for justice.

Close

Ian’s wife Vera (right) and mother Margaret are still seeking justice two years on from the murder

Ian’s wife Vera (right) and mother Margaret are still seeking justice two years on from the murder

Ian’s wife Vera (right) and mother Margaret are still seeking justice two years on from the murder

Ian’s 65-year-old mum Margaret has fire in her belly but is still full of tears over the memories too.

“I’m not with Ian’s dad anymore but we are still friends and we made Ian with love, he didn’t just drop from the sky,” says Margaret.

“He was created through love and love is what filled this family and love is what everyone had for Ian.

“The way he was taken from this earth from us couldn’t have been any further from love.

“But we still have love and they can do whatever they want to try and bring us down but we’ll still be standing here.”

Savagely

Ian’s partner of 30 years Vera recalls the couple’s first dates back when they were just 16-years-old and how Ian thought his own jokes were hilarious.

While his daughter bears the brunt of the abuse but refuses to take a step back despite her family worrying she could be murdered herself.

Ian Ogle was murdered on January 27, 2019 just yards away from his Cluan Place home.

He was stabbed and beaten in the street minutes after praying with a pastor.

In the aftermath of the shocking murder the family were overwhelmed by support from the community.

Those responsible came under pressure after the killing from within the wider community of east Belfast.

But Toni Ogle-Johnston, Ian’s outspoken daughter who once faced down those responsible, says two years on little has changed.

Close

Ian Ogle's daugher Toni Ogle-Johnston

Ian Ogle's daugher Toni Ogle-Johnston

Ian Ogle's daugher Toni Ogle-Johnston

“When they condemned the murder of my dad the whole community was behind us and we felt it might bring real change,” she tells us just yards from the spot where he was savagely attacked. But as time has gone on there are elements of the community who have not only turned their back – they’ve actively campaigned against us.

“From out-and-out threats on social media to graffiti calling me a ‘coke-sniffing whore’ to quietly going round warning groups and businesses not to support the Justice for Ian campaign.

“We’ve had bands cancel on us, DJs who said they’d been told not to play any of our events and even a business who said they’d been told not make a mural for us.

“We have found out who our real friends our, that’s for sure. Some people turned their back on us while many are too scared to support us publicly but we still get lots of support from the community even if many come up to us quietly to tell us.”

Graffiti supporting the Ogle’s campaign surfaced round east Belfast this week but was removed almost as swiftly – an attempt to literally whitewash history.

Scheme

Toni says it’s time for east Belfast to change and move forward and says despite all the heartache and the threats she’s seen green shoots of hope in the community.

“Since dad was killed we have seen people standing up to the bullies more than they would have in the past,” says Toni.

Ian’s wife Vera Johnston says she met Ian 30 years ago when they both 16-year-olds taking part on the government YTP work scheme.

Close

Ian Ogle's wife Vera

Ian Ogle's wife Vera

Ian Ogle's wife Vera

“I remember sitting in the computer room in Castlereagh Tech and Ian was sitting outside watching me and the tutor saying to me, ‘I think he’s after you’,” says the mum-of-two.

“We’d already been out on our first date by then but Ian was sitting there because he was really shy!

“Like most people back then we got together when his mates asked my mates if I’d go out with him.

“Ian was the perfect boyfriend and used to buy me a gravy chip every weekend when we got out £29.50 from the YTP.

“He was always joking, he thought he was hilarious but his jokes were terrible. He used to work as a doorman and you’d worry about him getting home safely. He’d always say the women fighting were worse than the men!”

Vera says she still dreams about Ian and hasn’t been able to move on since his murder.

“I miss everything about him, I still dream about him regularly and every morning I sit for a moment and then remember he’s gone, it’s like punch in the gut every time.

“Ian did so much to look after me because I have fibromyalgia. He looked after me so well. He was my hot water blanket at night. I used to send him up to bed before me to get the bed warm.

Coped

“Now I wake up alone every day and things are just much tougher without him. I still think he’s going to walk down the stairs. It still doesn’t seem real.

“He always said to me he’d better go before me because he said he couldn’t have coped without me. I’m not doing much better.”

Five people stand accused of murdering Ian Ogle but Covid-19 has stunted an already painfully slow court process and no date has been set for any trial.

And while his mum wants nothing more than justice, she’s fully aware her family will still be the losers in all of this.

“Nothing has changed really,” says Margaret fighting back tears. “Ian is still six feet under in Roselawn, he didn’t get to enjoy Christmas, he didn’t get to see the new year.

“I’m hoping and praying that we get justice and if we don’t, I’ll be the first to start campaigning for it again.

“I feel guilty because I live out in Holywood and the rest of the family in east Belfast have been tortured since the murder.”


Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Sunday World


Privacy