Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Brother of mass killer McElhill avoids jail for assault

Cathal McElhill, brother of Arthur, arrives at court in Enniskillen

The brother of Arthur McElhill, who killed himself and his family in a house fire in Omagh, has been spared jail after admitting attacking his pregnant wife.

Cathal McElhill (40) had been drinking heavily when he choked, punched and headbutted his wife in front of their children.

McElhill, from Kinawley, Fermanagh, appeared at Enniskillen Magistrates Court yesterday and was sentenced to a probation order to last for 18 months.

In court on May 18 McElhill admitted attacking his wife. At that hearing a prosecutor told District Judge Liam McNally that Mrs McElhill had told police that her husband had been drinking and lost his temper on March 20.

She said he held her down on a bed and choked her before tearing off her clothes, punching her chest and headbutting her.

She was 16 weeks pregnant at the time.

McElhill’s solicitor Gary Smyth told the court his client was full of remorse and thankful his wife was not injured.

He said McElhill had been drinking heavily on the evening of the attack.

He has been in a rehabilitation programme at Omagh’s Tyrone and Fermanagh Hospital.

The former mechanic is a brother of convicted sex offender Arthur McElhill (36) who set fire to his Omagh home in 2007, killing himself, partner Lorraine McGovern (29) and children Caroline (13), Sean (7), Bellina (4), Clodagh (19 months), and James (10 months).

An inquest revealed that Arthur McElhill had been conducting a sexual relationship with an under-age girl.

A coroner ruled he started the fire after Ms McGovern threatened to leave him.

Mr McNally told Enniskillen Magistrates Court in May he had to bear in mind Cathal McElhill’s family background, a “red light” to the court.

He said he had to take into account Cathal McElhill’s clear record and admission of guilt at the first opportunity.

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