Belfast Telegraph

Holland family’s fury as freed thug in dock again

The family of murder victim Harry Holland have hit out after a man jailed for his involvement in the killing committed a string of offences just weeks after walking free from jail.

Geraldine McAteer, a sister of the murdered west Belfast man, spoke out after Patrick Crossan appeared back in the dock yesterday to plead guilty to a catalogue of crimes committed within weeks of being freed from jail.

Crossan, originally from Willowbank Gardens, Belfast, had been jailed in July last year for affray and possessing a knife the night in September 2007 that Mr Holland (65) was stabbed in the head with a screwdriver.

He was freed two months later in September because of time already served while awaiting trial, despite having been deemed a ‘high-risk’ offender.

Ms McAteer has hit out at the Public Prosecution Service for dropping the original murder charge against Crossan.

She said: “We are still of the opinion that the charges against Patrick Crossan should not have been reduced in connection with Harry’s case.

“I would have hoped he would have learnt by the time he has served. We are of the opinion that the charges should not have been lowered as he was part of a violent attack on my brother and Frank Quigley.

“We hoped that when he had done his time he would have turned over a new leaf, but patently that is not the case.

“It is incredibly disheartening and frustrating as a family. He is repeating the same type of behaviour and he has a tendency towards violence.

“For the sake of himself, his family and everyone else, I hope he turns his life around. He said he was ‘sorry’ for Harry and that was taken into account in his sentencing. But he’s not sorry if he’s doing this type of thing again.”

Ms McAteer added: “With the devolution of policing and justice, citizens need to feel that the system is dealing properly with dangerous individuals and that the safety of citizens comes first and foremost.”

Crossan, from Hillman Street, who turned 20 yesterday, admitted a total of eight charges at Craigavon Crown Court including burglary, aggravated vehicle taking, and drunk, dangerous and uninsured driving all on October 10 last year.

Prosecuting lawyer Ms Nicola Auret revealed that Crossan had been at a party in a north Belfast house that evening when a bedroom door had been smashed and the keys to a car stolen.

Defence lawyer Jon Paul Shields asked Judge Patrick Lynch to allow more time before sentencing so further reports on Crossan, in addition to the normal social inquiry reports, might be obtained.

Crossan was remanded back into custody until sentencing next month.

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