Family pay tribute to murdered soldier son

Pte Matthew Boyd of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment
Pte Matthew Boyd of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment

The family of a Carrick-born soldier who was murdered in south Wales say the love of the community where he died has been stronger that the man who killed him.

Private Matthew Boyd, 20, of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, died in the early hours of May 8 after local man Jake Vallely punched him to the ground and beat him unconscious, before dragging his body away and dumping it.

Amateur boxer Vallely, 24, was convicted of the young soldier’s murder on Thursday.

Matthew grew up in Greenisland and moved to Spain with his family he was seven. Many of his relatives still live in the Carrickfergus area, including his grandparents, David and Maureen Boyd.

Outside court in Cardiff after the conviction, Matthew’s family paid tribute to their son.

“Matthew was full of life. He was loving, caring and loyal,” they said in a statement.

“He was always playing jokes on his peers and family, and always brought smiles to our faces.”

They said Vallely had created “a void in our family that will never be filled”.

Just before killing their son, they noted, Vallely had boasted that he was the “hardest man in Brecon”.

However, they added that “he couldn’t have been more wrong – there has been such a massive outpouring of love from the community in Brecon towards our family; in our mind, those are the strongest people in Brecon”.

READ MORE: ‘Hardest man’ found guilty of NI born soldier’s murder