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'I hoped thug would get 15 years in prison for leaving my son like this... but he got just five. He shouldn't get off lightly'

By Deborah McAleese

Published 28/11/2015

Scott Vineer in hospital after the attack
Scott Vineer in hospital after the attack
Scott with his mother Helen-Louise after his attacker was sentenced last week

A mother whose autistic son was viciously beaten and left for dead has welcomed moves by the Public Prosecution Service to appeal his attacker's five-year prison term.

Helen-Louise Doney said she was distraught by the "leniency" of the sentence imposed on Lisburn man Ryan Craig earlier this week for the attack on her son Scott Vineer, who has been left brain damaged and on crutches.

Mrs Doney said news that the PPS is set to refer the sentence to the Court of Appeal has given her and Scott a glimmer of hope that they may finally get justice.

She is also planning to request that the PPS review a decision not to pursue two other suspects involved in the 2012 attack for prosecution.

"I just couldn't believe it when the judge sentenced Ryan Craig to five years in prison. We had been hoping for 15 years for what he had done to Scott.

"I'm pleased to hear the sentence is going to be challenged. We will keep campaigning for justice for Scott," said Mrs Doney.

She added: "There are still two men out there who tried to kill my son. The police and the PPS know who they are.

"I intend to request the PPS to relook at their files and review their decision not to go ahead with a case against them. These cowards shouldn't be allowed to get away with what they did."

Just over three years ago, Scott, who was 17 at the time, was left for dead following the brutal attack.

Craig and two others beat, kicked and attempted to strangle the Lisburn student.

They left him unconscious in a pool of blood in the grounds of a disused factory. Craig threw Mr Vineer's phone away so that he was unable to call anyone for help.

He was discovered more than 24 hours later by a police dog handler. The teen was so badly injured, doctors warned he was unlikely to live.

On Wednesday at Craigavon Crown Court, Judge Patrick Lynch QC sentenced Craig to five years behind bars, followed by five years on licence for inflicting GBH with intent. He told Craig that while he will be released from jail in due course, Scott "will never be released" from the prison of his injuries.

"He will live with the consequences of that fateful evening for the rest of his life. This was cold and deliberate," he said.

The judge added that due to the severity of his injuries, Scott will not be able to live alone, seek employment or drive a car.

Following the sentencing the PPS told the Belfast Telegraph: "We are considering if there is a basis to refer the sentence in this case to the Court of Appeal on the grounds that it may be unduly lenient."

Mrs Doney has since contacted Justice Minister David Ford and launched an online petition for justice for Scott.

She has claimed that supporters of Craig have targeted the petition with hateful comments.

"Scott didn't do anything wrong. He deserves proper justice, " said Mrs Doney.

Belfast Telegraph

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