Wheelie bin murder: Stephen Hughes and Shaunean Boyle given life sentences for savage killing of Owen Creaney
'He thought he was with his friends but these people turned out to be his killers'
A man and woman found guilty of murdering a disabled man and dumping his body in a wheelie bin have been sentenced to life in prison.
Combined the pair will spend 29 years in jail before considered eligible for parole.
Following a trial that lasted five weeks, Stephen Thomas Hughes (29) and Shaunean Boyle (25) were found unanimously guilty by a jury of murdering Lurgan man Owen Creaney.
Stephen Hughes was given a life sentence with a minimum period of 15 years and Shauneen Boyle was given a life sentence with a minimum of 14 years.
The vulnerable 40-year-old, who was known by the nickname Fonzie, was brutally and mercilessly beaten in the hallway of Hughes' Moyraverty Court home in Craigavon in the early hours of Thursday July 3, 2014.
In the aftermath of the savage assault, during which Mr Creaney sustained over 60 injuries including a broken breastbone and 15 fractures to his ribs as well as severe head injuries, the pair carried him upstairs, where he was showered after wetting himself, changed and placed on a sofa in a bedroom.
The deadly duo then left Mr Creaney in the room for two days, before he succumbed to fatal head and chest wounds. Once dead, Hughes and Boyle then slid Mr Creaney's remains into a green recycling wheelie bin which was then brought back down the stairs and left at the rear of the property.
His remains were found, and Boyle and Hughes arrested, after a friend of Boyle raised the alarm on the morning of Saturday July 5, 2014.
Mr Creaney's parents said the loss of their son has left them "heartbroken" and that he thought he was with his friends but "these people turned out to be his killers".
Jim and Teresa Creaney said: “The loss of such a wonderful son has left us heartbroken. He was a kind soul and didn’t deserve what happened to him. Owen would have helped anyone. He thought he was with his friends but these people turned out to be his killers.
“Owen will be sorely missed by his immediate family, the wider family circle and his friends. He is in our thoughts every day. We miss him very much.
“We would like to thank the police, the Public Prosecution Service and everyone involved in this case for all their help.
“We would also like to thank our friends and relations for all their kind words and prayers. They are very much appreciated.”
Detective Chief Inspector Lee McNevison paid tribute to how Mr Creaney's family had conducted themselves during the trial.
He said: “We hope that the sentences will, in some small way, provide comfort and a degree of closure for the Creaney family. They have conducted themselves with great dignity over the past two and a half years since Owen’s murder and more recently as they listened to the often difficult evidence at the trial.
“Our thoughts today are with them and with Owen.
“In closing, I would like to thank the community in Moyraverty and in Lurgan for their co-operation and assistance in this investigation. They provided information, made statements and gave evidence. All of this support was crucial to securing convictions.”