Belfast Telegraph

Killer teen is convicted of assault on police officers

By Adrian Rutherford

A teenage killer who strangled his elderly grandfather for £80 rent has been convicted of assaulting police officers while on licence — but won’t have to spend any more time in custody.

Eamonn Coyle will walk free from prison in December 2013 as scheduled after a judge ruled the three-month sentence should run concurrent to his existing tariff.

Coyle was just 16 when he stabbed and strangled his frail 78-year-old grandfather during a botched robbery at his Omagh home.

He appeared in court earlier this week on various charges relating to an incident in the Co Tyrone town in February. It is the third time he has faced charges relating to violent crime since being convicted of Mr O’Neill’s manslaughter.

In the latest incident, Coyle, now 19 and residing in Hydebank Young Offenders’ Centre, faced three counts of assaulting police officers, disorderly behaviour and resisting police at Drumragh Avenue, Omagh.

The offences occurred on February 10 while Coyle was out on licence.

Imposing the latest sentence, District Judge Bernie Kelly said: “This is in the hope of securing the rehabilitation of the offender.”

Last month Coyle was returned to serve the rest of his sentence after being convicted of assaulting a man outside a pub in Campsie. The assault took place two days after Coyle assaulted the PSNI officers.

Coyle killed Mr O’Neill in 2009 during a botched raid at the former nurse’s home at Brook Valley in Omagh.

The youth stole £80 which he used to pay his rent.

He was originally sentenced to 12 months for manslaughter but, after the intervention of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Court of Appeal ruled the sentence was too lenient and doubled his jail term.

Within six months of being jailed, Coyle was in court for attacking a witness who gave evidence against him.

Background

Eamonn Coyle killed his 78-year-old grandfather Francis O’Neill at Easter 2009 for £80 rent money. Mr O’Neill was a former psychiatric nurse who worked at the Tyrone and Fermanagh Hospital in Omagh.

Coyle was originally charged with Mr O’Neill’s murder, but his trial collapsed due to legal issues.

He pleaded guilty to manslaughter at a later court date. He has since been in court three times for violent crime.

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