Belfast Telegraph

Jim Gilchrist's daughter holds a photo of her dead father in killer's face as she confronts him in court

BY DONNA DEENEY AND GEORGE JACKSON

The children of a popular blues musician who died in a brutal attack as he cycled home have confronted one of the killers as he appeared in the dock.

Jim Gilchrist – a well known musician in Londonderry – was set upon while on his way home from a motorcycle club meeting in September 2005.

The body of the 62-year-old father-of-five and grandfather was dumped into the river Foyle by his killers.

Yesterday, Daniel John Young (26) appeared in Londonderry Crown Court to be sentenced for smuggling heroin into Magilligan prison in May, 2012, where he is serving time for the manslaughter of Mr Gilchrist.

As Young's name was called out in court, Catherine Gilchrist approached to the dock as the prison officers brought the remorseless killer up from the cells.

In complete silence and without warning, she pressed a photograph of her father against the protective glass screen that separated Young from the court and stared at him.

Sitting behind the protective screen between two prison officers, Young barely reacted – although he could not have failed to have seen the photo. The judge did not intervene, and Catherine then returned to the public gallery to sit beside her brother Martin.

Later she told the Belfast Telegraph that it was important to her family that Young was not allowed to forget the man they loved so dearly.

"My father was such a dignified man so I wanted to make sure Young was reminded of what he took from us – but I wanted to do it in a dignified way.

"I got the strength to do what I did from the love I have for my daddy. It was as if he was in the courtroom with us," she said.

He had returned to prison following home leave with 0.24 grams of heroin and with two mobile phone sim cards. He also admitted being unlawfully at large from the prison between May 24 and May 28, 2012.

Young admitted smuggling the drug into prison and unlawfully possessing it. A prosecution barrister told Judge Philip Babington that when asked by police officers why he had returned to prison two days after his home leave period had expired, Young replied: "I met a girl".

The items were found in his cell which was searched by prison officers. Judge Babington jailed Young for seven months and said the sentence would take effect on his August release date.

BACKGROUND

Daniel John Young (far right) was jailed for 10 years in 2008 for the senseless killing of Jim Gilchrist (right), and is due to be released from prison next August. He had been on probation, but was sent back to prison in December for failing to comply with conditions. Young had been released on July 7, 2012, but a previous court was told that since then period Young had been convicted of several offences – including taking and driving away, and driving while disqualified. He has now been convicted of trying to smuggle heroin into jail.

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