Belfast Telegraph

Musician's killer walks after new conviction for theft

By Donna Deeney and Eamon MacDermott

The family of a murdered musician say his memory has been insulted as his killer walked free from court after facing serious theft charges.

Jim Gilchrist – a well known blues 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 then dumped into the river Foyle.

One of those imprisoned for the brutal manslaughter, Daryl Quigley, was released in 2011.

Mr Gilchrist's son Martin spoke of his family's anger after the 27-year-old appeared in court again yesterday on charges of theft and criminal damage.

Limavady Magistrate's Court heard that Quigley spent his time in prison abusing drugs.

Quigley, from Benevenagh Drive in Limavady, admitted two charges of theft and criminal damage between May 1 and 21, 2013.

The thefts included a tumble drier, water tank, copper pipes and other material taken from a house with the value put at £1,800.

The court was told a letting agent arrived at a property Quigley was renting to do a maintenance check and was refused entry.

He noticed water running down walls and when he finally succeeded in entering the property he found the water tank had been removed, as well as skirting boards, furniture and fittings.

Quigley told police he had "been out of his mind on drugs for the past few weeks".

Defence solicitor Don Mahoney said his client had not long been released after a lengthy prison sentence and had spent a lot of his time in prison abusing drugs. The solicitor said Quigley was trying to get his life back on track and had been taking monthly drugs checks for the last six months and was clear every time.

District Judge Liam McNally said that a substantial custodial sentence was needed due to the seriousness of the charges.

He imposed a sentence of five months in custody but suspended that for a period of three years.

He also ordered Quigley to pay £500 in compensation.

Martin Gilchrist called for an overhaul of sentencing guidelines if a convicted killer "could walk out of court after committing yet another serious offence".

He said: "This is an insult to my mother, my sister and I – and most importantly, to my father's memory.

"Clearly Quigley is not interested in being rehabilitated, as we have consistently said.

"He is a prolific offender who does not care who is damaged by his action."

Judges are bound by sentencing guidelines and must take into account mitigating circumstances, such as early guilty pleas, co-operation with police and remorse, as well as aggravating factors such as intent and excessive violence.

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