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UFF killer's daughter (19) threatened own mother with knife

By Paul Higgins

The daughter of a notorious loyalist mass murderer held a knife to her mother's throat threatening "you'll get this".

Despite being jailed for three months for assaulting Tracey Coulter and possessing a weapon, Stephanie McKeag (19) walked free from Dungannon Magistrates Court because she had served the equivalent time on remand.

Imposing the jail term on McKeag, from Boundary Way in the Shankill, Belfast, District Judge John Meehan said that despite numerous conditional discharges being handed out to the teenager, she refused to change her behaviour.

"If someone was murdered following the litany of violent offences repeatedly dealt with by conditional discharge, questions would be asked," said the judge.

He added that his "obligation is not just to the defendant's vulnerabilities, but to protect the public".

Earlier a prosecuting lawyer told the court how an 11-year-old child rang 999 on December 6 last year telling police her mother was being held with a knife to her throat at their Dungannon home, and identified McKeag as the assailant.

Officers who went to the scene were met by Ms Coulter's partner, who pointed to a room and said: "She's in there. She's put the knife down."

McKeag appeared to have calmed down and was arrested, but refused to answer the majority of police questions, although she claimed she had picked up the knife in self-defence.

However, Ms Coulter told police that she and her daughter had argued and McKeag grabbed the knife, swung it at her and shouted: "You'll get this."

The case was originally adjourned for pre-sentence reports, but the court heard while McKeag attended an appointment with probation, she "became agitated and walked out."

McKeag's defence solicitor said his client had addiction issues but was engaging with agencies to address this.

He also pointed out that after being originally charged, McKeag was remanded in custody for a time until she managed to secure bail.

Jailing her, Judge Meehan told McKeag she "needs to understand she goes to jail if she attacks people and puts others in fear".

McKeag is the daughter of deceased UFF killer Stephen McKeag, who was responsible for a raft of sectarian murders in the 1990s.

She is also the granddaughter of Jackie Coulter, a UDA chief murdered by the UVF in 2000 during a loyalist feud.

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