Derry killer Greatbanks jailed for hammer murder
A dangerous killer who battered one neighbour to death with a hammer and left another permanently disabled in what was described as an attack carried out with "the utmost viciousness and savagery" was today told he will serve at least 16 years of his life sentence before he is even considered for release.
Imposing the minimum tariff on 38-year-old Paul Greatbanks at Antrim Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, Mr Justice Horner told the Englishman the photographs he had seen of the incident on February 20 2011 "demonstrate acts of unspeakable brutality" on his part.
He also told Greatbanks, who sat with his head bowed throughout the hearing, that both his victims, the man he killed Patrick Harkin (49) and the man he left for dead, 41-year-old Paul Mythen "were entirely innocent men who did nothing to deserve that happened to them".
"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," declared the judge adding: "Effectively two innocent, decent men have had their lives, in one case ended and in the other case destroyed, by the defendant."
As well as the 16-year minimum tariff for the murder, for which Kent born Greatbanks will receive no remission whatsoever, Mr Justice Horner imposed a 15-year jail term, to be served concurrently, with an extra five years on licence for the attempted murder of Mr Mythen.
During an earlier court proceeding the judge had heard how a drunken Greatbanks, who was prone to "explosive" fits of temper when drunk, had downed five double whiskies as well as beer before being forcibly ejected from Wetherspoons bar.
Back at his own flat in Bayview Terrace, Greatbanks armed himself with a claw hammer and went first to Mr Harkin's flat, also in the Bayview Terrace complex in Londonderry and beat him to death with it, landing multiple blows, including whilst he lay unconscious on the floor.
Greatbanks, who had been a homeless street drinker in Dublin before moving to Derry, then went to Mr Mythen's flat, also in Bayview Terrace and attacked him with the hammer, causing massive injuries which have left him wheelchair bound and needing 24 hour support. Greatbanks, covered in his victims' blood, then walked to nearby Strand Road PSNI station here he told the desk officer he had just killed two men.
Last month, Greatbanks pleaded guilty to Mr Harkin's murder and to attempting to murder Mr Mythen.
Mr Justice Horner repeated the fact the photographs taken at the respective scenes "display a truly horrifying picture of what took place and added that one possible consolation for Mr Harkin's family was that he "may have been rendered unconscious early in the attack".
"The offence committed by the defendant was truly dreadful and has had disatrous repercussions for Mr Mythen," declared the judge.