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Dale Lewis who stabbed grandfather and cousin in Belfast jailed for five years

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A 20-year-old man who stabbed his grandfather and cousin in an unprovoked early morning attack was handed a five-year sentence yesterday (stock photo)

A 20-year-old man who stabbed his grandfather and cousin in an unprovoked early morning attack was handed a five-year sentence yesterday (stock photo)

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A 20-year-old man who stabbed his grandfather and cousin in an unprovoked early morning attack was handed a five-year sentence yesterday (stock photo)

A 20-year-old man who stabbed his grandfather and cousin in an unprovoked early morning attack was handed a five-year sentence yesterday.

The barrister representing Dale Lewis said there was "no rhyme nor reason nor motive" for the double stabbing which occurred in north Belfast on October 29, 2018.

Lewis, whose address was given as Hydebank YOC, was told by Judge Neil Rafferty QC that he will spend half the sentence in custody, followed by a period of two-and-a-half years on licence.

Belfast Crown Court heard the incident - which was carried out after Lewis consumed alcohol, Xanax and Diazepam - has had a devastating impact on the family circle.

Prosecuting barrister Kate McKay said Lewis appeared at his grandfather's home at around 6.30am.

He was invited in and asked if he wanted something to eat, then his grandfather left the house to get bread and a newspaper.

When his grandfather returned, Lewis told him he was going up to the toilet. A short time later, he went to check an upstairs bedroom where another grandson, aged 17, was sleeping.

Ms McKay said that when he entered the room and turned the light on, he "discovered the defendant on top of his cousin".

The wounded teen later revealed he was woken up by pain, then when he realised what was happening, he tried to reason with his older cousin, who appeared calm, told him to 'ssssssh' and continued to stab him.

The grandfather intervened, and after pulling Lewis off his cousin, he was also stabbed.

Whilst he sustained five stab wounds to his head and face which required 14 stitches, the 17-year-old victim was treated for stab wounds to his arm and neck.

Ms McKay said that when Lewis was arrested, he denied attacking his two relatives and claimed he hadn't been at his grandfather's for a fortnight.

The prosecutor branded the attack as "unprovoked" and spoke of the vulnerability of the 17-year-old victim, who was asleep when the assault began.

She also said that whilst both victims have recovered from their injuries, the incident was an example of "wanton violence" carried out after the consumption of large quantities of drink and drugs.

Defence barrister Chris Holmes said that whilst Lewis accepted he was responsible for what occurred, he had no memory of an incident which has "torn apart" his family.

Saying Lewis initially told police "a pack of lies", Mr Holmes said he has since shown "deep remorse for his behaviour" which he accepted was "appalling".

Mr Holmes spoke of Lewis's poor mental health, which became apparent at an early age and which worsened due to his client's abuse and misuse of drugs.

The barrister also said there was no reason or motive for Lewis's "bizarre" behaviour - but said it was set against a backdrop of poor mental health.

Judge Rafferty said that after reading victim impact statements, it was clear that the incident has had a devastating impact on the family.

The Judge also said: "It is clear this man has some form of mental health difficulty, but none of the doctors have been able to put a name or tag to that. He remains undiagnosed."

After handing Lewis a five-year sentence, Judge Rafferty concluded: "I hope there is some form of healing in the family after the sentence I have imposed".

Belfast Telegraph