The remorseless killer of former IRA prisoner Frank ‘Bap’ McGreevy will serve at least 17 years in prison for the frenzied drink and drug fuelled murder.
Friends and family of 22-year-old Thomas Valliday reacted angrily as he appeared at Belfast Crown Court to be sentenced for the brutal murder of the 51-year-old.
Valliday, from Lady Street in Belfast, was convicted in February of a savage attack on Mr McGreevy in his flat in Ross Street in March 2008. He was high on a cocktail of drink and drugs when he battered the victim with a variety of weapons including a pick-axe handle.
The killer appeared at Laganside Court yesterday where Mr Justice Hart told him he must serve at least 17 years of his life term for the murder.
The judge told Valliday that since the killing two years ago this month he “has shown no remorse whatever for his crime and I am satisfied that there are no mitigating factors in the case”.
The judge had said Valliday was on the run from the Young Offenders Centre and, at the time — as his own lawyers “correctly observed — he was on a ‘bender' of drink and drugs when he attacked Mr McGreevy”.
The battered father-of-two was found by his teenage son in his west Belfast flat on March 15, 2008, but died three days later in hospital.
Mr Justice Hart said he had read from the “dignified and heartfelt account” of the impact this has had on young Francis McGreevy.
In the victim impact report written for the judge, Mr McGreevy’s family said their “lives changed forever” that day, but that “Francis will never forget the events of that night and the terrible times in the hospital that followed”.
The statement added: “We have a void in our lives which will never be filled.”
Speaking outside the court, Mr McGreevy's sister Mary Black said that “it will take some time for us to get some closure on this because it never leaves you, but we have to carry on”.
Detective Inspector Justyn Galloway, who helped lead the investigation, said he was pleased with the sentence.
He also praised the co-operation of the people of west Belfast, and said that “without their assistance we would not be here today, and I thank them for that”.
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams commended the McGreevy family for their dignity.