Belfast Telegraph

Family of man who died after punch 'devastated' by pair's sentences

The brother of a man who died after a “one-punch” attack says his family is “devastated” at the sentences imposed on two brothers involved in the deadly assault.

Gary Butcher, a 39-year-old father from The Glens in Limavady, sustained a fatal head injury when he fell after he was punched once on the chin in Bob's Bistro bar in Magilligan on July 3 of last year.

The man who punched him, Shaun Doherty (21), from Bawn Court in Limavady, received a two-and-a-half-year jail sentence at the Crown Court in Londonderry after pleading guilty to Mr Butcher's manslaughter.

Doherty will serve 15 months in jail and 15 months on licence.

His brother Kevin Doherty (26), from Limestone Road in Magilligan, received a six-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, when he admitted a charge of common assault on Mr Butcher by standing on his chest as he lay on the floor after he had struck his head off a wall following the punch.

A dispute between the two families over the sale of land resulted in a number of confrontations which ended in the death of the crane driver, the court was told.

Sentencing the brothers, Judge Piers Grant told Shaun Doherty that he would “have to live with the consequences of your actions for the rest of your life”.

He said the incident was an unprovoked attack on a defenceless man.

Judge Grant described Kevin Doherty's actions of standing on the victim's chest as mean.

He said he accepted as genuine the remorse the brothers had shown since the incident.

“There was a long-running dispute between the Butcher and Doherty families relating to the sale of some land and there had been confrontations about that over the past number of years,” he said.

Judge Grant said that excessive alcohol consumption had played a part in the tragedy.

Speaking after the sentencings, attended by members of both the Butcher and Doherty families, the deceased's brother Martin Butcher said his family were “devastated” by the sentences imposed.

“It does not serve as much of a deterrent for young boys who behave in such a fashion and we thought a much stronger message should have been sent out, but unfortunately we have now to pick up the pieces and get on with our lives,” he said.

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