Belfast Telegraph

Alcoholic thug who killed OAP in street fails to get sentence cut

BY ALAN ERWIN

A SIX-year sentence imposed on an alcoholic for killing a pensioner who reprimanded him for taking someone else's drink was not excessive, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Judges held that Jackie Allen (below) required a deterrent punishment for the fatal assault on Jim Heasley as the victim walked home from his local pigeon club.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan said: "He did not launch a spontaneous attack at that stage where others might have intervened, but followed him and waited until this 70-year-old vulnerable pensioner had entered a quiet street.

"That shows a measure of deliberation and planning, which is significant."

Allen (50), from Ravarnet Gardens, Lisburn, Co Antrim, was challenging his sentence of three years in prison and three years on licence.

He had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Allen in the city in October 2010 but claimed to have no memory of the incident.

The pensioner had been out for the night at his pigeon club when he admonished Allen for drinking another man's pint.

Allen was later asked to leave the premises but remained in the area and attacked Mr Heasley near Manor Park.

The victim was knocked to the ground, striking his head on a kerbstone.

Allen then subjected him to a further assault.

Mr Heasley died in hospital from severe brain injuries.

Allen denied an original charge of murder but eventually pleaded guilty to unlawful killing.

His lawyers sought to have the sentence reduced, arguing that it was a single punch case.

But Sir Declan, sitting with Lord Justice Coghlin and Mr Justice Stephens, rejected their contentions and pointed to substantial aggravating factors. "Having launched the attack he then left the deceased unconscious on the public street," the judge said.

"Such violence on the public street inevitably undermines the confidence and security of those who live and work in the vicinity.

"Deterrent sentences are required."

Dismissing the appeal, Sir Declan confirmed: "We do not consider, therefore, that the determinate custodial sentence of six years was manifestly excessive."

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