Published Tuesday, 12 August 2014
John Molloy, was attacked by a group of men and women yards from his home off the Landsdowne Road in August 1996.
His mother, Linda Molloy, said he was supposed to be going to the Ardoyne Fleadh with friends on the night he was murdered.
"John was meant to go on to the festival with his friends but decided that he was tired and would come home by himself which was very unusual because they always hung about in a group because incidents had happened," she told UTV.
"We were told that he was set upon by a crowd and fatally stabbed," she explained.
She said when police first broke the news, she didn't believe it was her son. John's father Pat was called to identify his body.
He said: "It just broke your heart whenever I walked in to see John.
"It was devastating, [I thought] 'how am I going to tell Linda John's dead?'"
"I just took one look at his face and I just knew that it was John," Linda said.
She continued: "Of course you want police to find out who did it.
"They started questioning his friends and things like that, the detective who was in charge at the time told us 'we'll have your son's murderers before the weekend's out'- it happened on a Friday night.
"Eighteen years later, we're sitting here now, we still haven't had any closure, any justice."
It seems like a long time but we still think about John every day.
Linda Molloy, John’s mother
The family was told there was a lack of evidence in the case, but they believe there are people out there with crucial information.
Linda added: "We're just trying to appeal to them to search their conscience and come forward and help us to get the murderers of our son."
On Sunday, the 18th anniversary of John's death, his family dedicated a bench in the garden of the WAVE Trauma Centre to his memory and to all other young men and women like him who have had their lives taken needlessly throughout the Troubles.
WAVE is the largest group helping victims of the conflict.
Linda says despite the years passing, the hurt remains, especially when her other children reach important milestones.
She said: "I remember going away with WAVE to a residential thing and some woman was telling her story and something had happened to her 15 years previous, John was only dead a couple of years at the time and I was looking at the woman going 'why is she still talking about that 15 years on?'.
"I didn't understand, but I understand now, 18 years is nothing because it just changes your whole life and it never goes away."
In a statement the PSNI said: "The murder of John Molloy is one of a number of serious crimes being investigated as part of Operation Stafford, a complex and substantial investigation into a series of murders and other serious crimes by the UVF in north Belfast.
"PSNI Serious Crime Branch took over this work from the Historical Enquiries Team in 2010. Police enquiries are continuing."
© UTV News