Belfast Telegraph

Fury at grandfather killer sentence

A teenage killer who choked and stabbed his grandfather will be back on the streets before Christmas, it has been revealed.

Less than 24 hours after he was sentenced, the Prison Service in Belfast confirmed Eamon Coyle, 18, from Omagh in Co Tyrone, will be released at the end of the month.

A one-year sentence handed down by Mr Justice Richard McLaughlin has provoked fury. The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is to consider whether the sentence was unduly lenient.

Democratic Unionist peer Lord Maurice Morrow said: "I cannot understand how and why this decision was arrived at. It sends out the wrong message to the law abiding public,

"I am shocked and stunned, as I think a lot of people are."

Coyle, from Holmview Terrace, Omagh, was just 16 when he stabbed and choked 78-year-old Francis O'Neill at his home in April last year for £80 to pay his rent. He put the frail pensioner in a headlock after a row broke out.

Now 18, Coyle was sentenced on Monday to a year's detention for his grandfather's manslaughter and a further two years on licence.

But Coyle will be freed by the end of the month. He has already spent some time at a young offenders' centre on remand awaiting his trial.

The judge said he was certain Coyle did not intend to kill his grandfather, or even to seriously harm him, but that he had gone to his home for the motive of theft or robbery.

Mr Justice McLaughlin added he accepted Coyle posed no future risk to the public.

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