Belfast Telegraph

Teen who killed his grandad will be out in weeks

By Adrian Rutherford

A teenager who strangled and stabbed his own grandfather will be released back onto the streets within weeks, it has emerged.

People in Omagh are fearful about the imminent return of Eamonn Coyle who killed his elderly grandfather for £80 rent money, it has also been claimed.

Earlier this week Coyle was sentenced to 12 months’ detention after admitting the manslaughter of 78-year-old Francis O’Neill.

But because of time already served on remand, Coyle will be released and back on the streets before the end of the month.

As anger at the sentence intensified last night, it emerged the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) is to consider whether the sentence was unduly lenient.

West Tyrone MLA Tom Buchanan, who sits on the Stormont justice committee, said there is fear in the community about Coyle’s return.

“It is worrying to think this young man will be out of jail in a few weeks, and it will send fear into people in the West Tyrone community,” he said.

“To give out such a lenient sentence is appalling. People in Omagh cannot believe it.”

Coyle (18), from Holmview Terrace in the town, strangled and stabbed his grandfather after breaking into Mr O’Neill’s flat in the Brook Valley cul-de-sac last April. He killed the frail and partially blind pensioner to get £80 to pay the rent.

On Tuesday Mr Justice McLaughlin sentenced Coyle to 12 months’ jail and a further two years on licence. The judge said he was certain Coyle never intended to kill or seriously harm his grandfather, and no longer posed a risk to the public.

Justice committee chair Lord Morrow said Coyle’s relationship to Mr O’Neill was an aggravating rather than a mitigating factor.

“The judge said he was ‘certain’ the motive behind the incident was theft or robbery,” he said.

“Therefore this appallingly lenient sentence appears to demonstrate allowances will be made if you kill or injure someone, as long as you had another intention for doing so.”

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