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‘No sentence passed will bring him back’ – Three jailed over killing of Derry man Eddie Meenan

Mr Meenan’s mother said she was "haunted with repeated visions of the murder taking place"


Eddie Meenan

Eddie Meenan

Eddie Meenan

Three men involved in the killing of Londonderry man Eddie Meenan have been handed sentences totalling 41 years.

Mr Meenan was attacked with sewer rods, a baseball bat and a knife in the rear garden of a house on Derry's Creggan Street in the early hours of November 25, 2018.

The 52-year-old father-of-nine was then stripped to his underwear and dragged into an alleyway at the rear of the property. A resident called 999 at around 2.30am after seeing Mr Meenan's body.

He had sustained 52 stab wounds and 94 separate areas of blunt trauma, which included a completely shattered nose and fractures to both legs.

The three men who attacked him – Sean Rodgers, Derek Creswell and Ryan Walters – appeared at Londonderry Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, for sentencing.

Rodgers (34) of no fixed abode, who denied murdering Mr Meenan but was unanimously convicted earlier this year by a jury, was told he will serve a minimum of 18 years in jail before he is considered eligible for release.

Judge Donna McColgan spoke of the "gratuitous violence" that Mr Meenan suffered and said all the evidence suggested Rodgers "as being the person who stabbed Mr Meenan either when he was already dead or very close to it".

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Creswell (30), with an address at Mullaghmore Drive in Omagh, initially denied the offence but during the trial changed his plea and admitted being involved in the murder. After being handed a life sentence, he was told he will spend the next 15 years in prison before he is considered eligible for release.

Crossgar man Ryan Walters (23), from Station Road, was found guilty on a charge of manslaughter. He was handed an eight-year sentence, divided equally between prison and licence.

Another person, Sinead Martina Whyte of St Brecan’s Park in Derry, was placed on probation for three years on a charge of withholding information. The 38-year-old, who was Mr Meenan’s niece, lived at the property where he was killed. While she was not present when he was murdered, she admitted failing to provide information to police about what had occurred.

The judge described the impact that the murder has had on Mr Meenan's family, including his 81-year-old mother Nancy.

In a statement, she said her son's absence has left "an emptiness in my heart and in my home" and that she was "devastated and heartbroken".

Mrs Meenan also revealed that on the day of her son's funeral, she was hospitalised with an angina attack and has since moved from her family home, which was close to Creggan Street, as she was "haunted with repeated visions of the murder taking place".

Outside court, Mr Meenan’s family said: "No sentence passed will bring him back. We never stop thinking about him. He's always in our thoughts."

During the seven-week trial which ended in March, the jury heard that in November 2018 Whyte's home at Creggan Street was known as a 'party house'.

Mr Meenan arrived at the rear of the property with his friend William McConnell in the early hours. Both were wearing balaclavas, gloves and were carrying sewer rods.

After entering the rear yard, they were seen by Rodgers, Creswell and Walters who were drinking in the kitchen.

The trio burst out and Rodgers immediately engaged in an attack on Mr Meenan, while the other two men engaged with Mr McConnell.

After being struck on the head with a baseball bat, Mr McConnell fled the scene. Mr Meenan was unable to leave and was subjected to what Judge McColgan described as a "brutal and sustained" attack.

After the killing, the men walked a short distance from Creggan Street to Rodgers’ mother's home at Little Diamond. A fire was started at the rear of the property and the clothes of Mr Meenan and Rodgers were burned.

Rodgers was also handed a concurrent five-year sentence for perverting the course of justice by burning evidence including bloodied clothing, while Creswell and Walters were handed concurrent three-year sentences for the same offence.

Concurrent three-year sentences were also imposed on Creswell and Walters for the attack on Mr McConnell.

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