Belfast Telegraph

Eight years for woman who incited killer

A woman jailed over the killing of another guest at a wedding her family attended has been given an increased eight-year sentence.



Senior judges raised Brenda Meehan's prison term from the minimum five years first imposed on her after finding that she incited her husband James Meehan to murder Jim McFadden in Londonderry.

New sentences were passed after Mrs Meehan (42) and her son Sean Devenney (23) both had their murder convictions reduced on appeal last month to manslaughter.

Devenney, who was originally jailed for at least nine years, had his term cut to four years in prison followed by 12 months’ probation.

The Court of Appeal held that, unlike his mother, he showed remorse and accepted his responsibility for Mr McFadden's death at an early stage.

A decision on the minimum 14-year jail term imposed on James Meehan (41), who failed to have his murder conviction overturned, was reserved.

He was found guilty of inflicting the fatal blows during the attack in May 2007.

Mr McFadden, a 42-year-old father-of-four, died from a ruptured heart after being kicked or stamped on the chest at his home in the city's Shantallow area.

He was beaten after returning with his family from a wedding reception in Donegal also attended by the Meehans and Devenney.

The confrontation that led to his death was said to have followed an earlier row over insults directed at the victim's daughter.

Both James Meehan and Sean Devenney had pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but their pleas were rejected by the prosecution.

James Meehan was said to have drunk up to nine pints and eight vodkas at the wedding reception before launching his violent attack.

His wife had been extremely agitated and threatened violence during the original incident, the court heard.

It emerged that in a taxi on the way home the mother-of-five allegedly repeatedly declared that she was going to Shantallow to “wreck it”. Evidence was also advanced that she disposed of clothing worn by her husband and boasted that she was proud of what happened.

Imposing the new eight-year sentence on her, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan said: “She at no stage prior to her conviction expressed remorse in the sense that she continued to deny any criminal responsibility in relation to this until the very end.”

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