Scott Vineer's laughing attacker Ryan Craig told to expect long sentence
Helen-Louise Doney looked towards her son and smiled in delight. For three years, she had been waiting for justice and finally the man who had left her son for dead, was led handcuffed from the courtroom to jail.
Scott Vineer nodded his head and returned his mother's smile as the judge warned Ryan Craig to anticipate a lengthy jail term.
Just over three years ago, in September 2012, Mr Vineer had been left for dead following a brutal attack.
Craig and two other men viciously beat and kicked and attempted to strangle Mr Vineer, who was 17 at the time.
They left him lying unconscious in a pool of blood in the grounds of a disused furniture store in Lisburn.
His mother raised the alarm when he failed to return home from college, and a major search operation was launched.
He was eventually discovered by a police dog handler the following night. The Lisburn man was so badly injured, doctors warned his family that he was unlikely to survive.
Yesterday at Craigavon Crown Court, Craig was jailed for attacking autistic Mr Vineer. The length of his sentence will be decided next week.
"I am so happy," Mrs Doney said as she left court. "He is finally behind bars and Scott feels safe again. When the judge sets the tariff, I hope it is for at least 15 years to reflect what Ryan Craig put my son through. "He has shown no remorse for what he did. He left my son for dead."
Earlier, before the case was opened, Craig sat laughing with members of his family in the public gallery.
Mr Vineer and his mother, meanwhile, sat quietly in the corner of the room.
During the hearing, as Craig sat in the dock, Mrs Doney's eyes never left him.
She said: "I've waited so long for this day. I'm over the moon. It's what we were hoping for. I hope it's going to be a very significant sentence. I'd like the key thrown away, but I know that's not going to happen.
"He has never said sorry to us or to Scott. I don't believe he feels any remorse. We hope and pray the police can find enough to charge the two other men involved. It would be the icing on the cake if they got put away as well."
Mrs Doney revealed she would never forget what happened.
"I remember going to the hospital and being told he was unlikely to survive," she said. "I remember going to the treatment room and he was lying on a trolley with tape over his eyes. His head was twice its size and there were trainer prints on his face. I was so angry somebody could do that to him. But I am so proud of him. He is very determined. Look how well he is doing."
For Scott, he finally feels confident enough to leave his home without fear of Craig attacking him again.
"I'm glad it has been sorted," he said. "I can walk on the streets again. I feel more confident knowing he is now in jail.
"He sat very close to us in the courtroom, but I didn't let him bother me. I just listened to what was being said.
"I'm doing okay after it all. I'm getting out and about. I just want to try and get on with my life as best as I can and try and put it all behind me now."