Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Teen who killed grandfather now faces drug charge

A teenager who strangled his grandfather for £80 to pay his rent was brought to court yesterday to face a drugs charge — just weeks after being praised by a judge for turning his life around.

Eamonn Coyle was jailed for 12 months on November 1 after pleading guilty to killing Francis O’Neill, his 78-year-old grandfather.

He was due to be released last week because of time already spent on remand — but a last-minute decision was taken to detain him on other charges.

He appeared at Strabane Magistrates' Court by videolink last Thursday to face charges of assault, criminal damage and threatening a witness, and his bail application was refused.

Now it has emerged that Coyle is also facing a drugs charge, allegedly committed less than five weeks before he was sentenced for Mr O’Neill’s manslaughter.

According to court papers, the 18-year-old, whose address is listed as Drumlegagh Road South, Omagh, is charged with possessing herbal cannabis on September 29.

Coyle was led into Omagh Magistrates’ Court in handcuffs yesterday, but the case was adjourned without him appearing.

He is due to reappear before the same court at a later date.

Last month there was outrage when Coyle was jailed for just a year after he admitted killing his frail grandfather.

Sentencing Coyle to a further two years on licence, Mr Justice McLaughlin said he accepted the teenager never intended to kill his grandfather or even to seriously harm him.

The judge also accepted Coyle posed no future risk to the public.

Referring to claims from his mother that Coyle's lifestyle has improved, the judge said the 10 months Coyle served on remand had taught him “discipline and respect”.

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