Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

'This man will kill again' warn family of the man Paul Greatbanks murdered

Paddy Harkin's family (L-R) Lucia (sister) and Jacqueline (sister) outside Laganside Courts today after the sentencing today - A man has been told he will serve a minimum of sixteen years in jail for the murder of a Londonderry man.Paddy Harkin, 49, was beaten to death with a hammer in his flat in Bayview Terrace in February 2011. He died from head injuries.Paul Greatbanks, 48, whose address was given as Maghaberry Prison, had pleaded guilty to the murder.
Paul Greatbanks (46) from Bayview Terrace, who appeared at Londonderry Magistrates Court on Monday.
Paul Greatbanks
Paul Greatbanks

The family of a man murdered in a frenzied hammer attack have warned the killer will strike again when he is freed.

Paul Greatbanks (38) will serve a minimum tariff of 16 years behind bars for the murder of Londonderry man Paddy Harkin, a killing described by Mr Justice Horner as an act of "unspeakable brutality".

The judge also imposed a 15-year jail term with an extra five years on licence for the attempted murder of Paul Mythen (41).

However, the fact there is even a slight chance that Greatbanks, who is originally from Kent, will ever walk free has angered Mr Harkin's devastated family.

Mr Harkin was murdered and Mr Mythen left brain-damaged and disabled during the unprovoked attack in February 2011.

After hearing the judge sentence Greatbanks, Mr Harkin's family walked out of Laganside Court after realising there was a possibility he would one day roam the streets again.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Paddy's brother John said: "I'm absolutely shaking; we thought we could begin grieving properly for Paddy today but that isn't going to happen.

"Unless that man is behind bars until the end of his days he will kill again, mark my words. I have never been more sure of anything in my life. He will do this again and that judge will have to have that on his conscience.

"We hoped and prayed that we would get closure to this nightmare, but while there is even the smallest chance that he will get out of jail means we can't relax.

"Our family is disgusted. This scumbag has already served two-and-a-half years so he could be free to kill again in not much over a decade. What's that against what happened to our Paddy or Paul Mythen, who has been left in a wheelchair and brain-damaged?"

Greatbanks walked into Strand Road police station in Derry dripping in blood in February 2011 and said he had murdered two men in the flats across the street, believing he had also killed Mr Mythen.

Mr Justice Horner told the Englishman the photographs he had seen of the incident "demonstrate acts of unspeakable brutality".

"The defendant bears full responsibility for these violent and vicious attacks resulting in the deceased's death and Paul Mythen's profound physical and mental incapacity," said the judge.

"Effectively, two innocent, decent men have had their lives, in one case ended and in the other case destroyed, by the defendant."

The judge had heard how a drunken Greatbanks, after being ejected from a bar, went back to his flat in Bayview Terrace and armed himself with a claw hammer and went to Mr Harkin's flat in the same complex.

Greatbanks beat Mr Harkin to death with the weapon. The killer, with previous convictions for violence, then went to Mr Mythen's flat and attacked him.

Mr Justice Horner said he considered Greatbanks to be a dangerous offender who was at high risk of reoffending and that any future offending was likely to cause serious harm to the public.

story so far

Killer Paul Greatbanks was handed a minimum 16-year life sentence for the murder of Paddy Harkin (below), for which he will receive no remission.

Mr Justice Horner also imposed a 15-year jail term for the attempted murder of Mr Mythen. However, it will be served concurrently – which means it will be served alongside the other sentence. Greatbanks will serve an extra five years on licence if released.

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