Belfast Telegraph

Six years for teenager who killed man with broken vodka bottle

By Ashleigh McDonald

A senior police officer has paid tribute to the dignity displayed by the grieving family of manslaughter victim Gerard Quinn.

Detective Chief Inspector Michael Harvey was speaking after a teenager from Londonderry was handed a six-year sentence for the unlawful killing of Mr Quinn, who died from a "catastrophic" neck wound.

The defendant, who cannot be named because of his age, was informed he will spend three years in custody followed by three years on supervised licence when he is released from Hybebank Young Offenders' Centre after he admitting the manslaughter of Mr Quinn (24).

Also injured in the incident last May was Mr Quinn's twin Michael.

Due to time already spent on remand, the teenager is due to be released within a year.

Handing him the six-year sentence, Mr Justice Treacy said: "This is one case where the genuineness of the remorse is, in my view, beyond question."

Outside court DCI Harvey praised the Quinn family.

"Gerard was not only a beloved son, he was a brother and he was a father to his three-year-old daughter," he said.

"Gerard was only 24 years old when he was denied a future with his family.

"We hope today's sentence will go some way to bringing closure to the family, who still face a lifetime without their loved one - in many ways, a life sentence.

"I also hope today's sentence acts as a deterrent for those who engage in violence. The consequences are plain to see."

Derry Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, heard that the defendant armed himself with a vodka bottle and ran to the aid of his friend, who was involved in a violent melee outside a house at Millfield Crescent in the city's Currynieran area on the evening of May 21 last year.

The defendant, who was 16 at the time, was with a group of other teenagers in the house when the Quinn brothers and another man called at the door.

One of the youths was confronted outside by Michael Quinn, and as the older man was "getting the better" of the youth, his friend ran out of the house armed with a bottle of vodka. Mr Justice Treacy said he accepted what happened next was "confused", but said: "Michael Quinn was struck first and his twin brother Gerard was then struck with the broken part of the bottle, causing severe injuries."

The wound to the 24-year-old father-of-one's neck - which severed both his jugular vein and his carotid artery - was so catastrophic that despite medics at Altnagelvin Hospital battling for five hours to save his life, he was pronounced dead at 4.22am on May 22, surrounded by his family.

Following the confrontation the youth changed his clothes before texting his sister and telling her: "I have f***** up, please come and get me."

He then handed himself in to the PSNI at Strand Road, where he was initially charged with attempted murder.

He co-operated fully with police, telling officers that he impulsively grabbed a glass bottle from the house in a bid to scare the older men off.

He also said that he acted in fear as he was concerned for his own safety and that of his friends.

During yesterday's sentencing Mr Justice Treacy said: "His reaction had completely disproportionate consequences that were never intended and which he deeply regrets."

Passing sentence, the judge said: "He has accepted responsibility for the unlawful killing of Gerard Quinn, who suffered a catastrophic injury to his neck caused by a broken bottle wielded by the defendant.

"The court must therefore impose a substantial custodial sentence."

He was handed six years for manslaughter, with a concurrent four-year term for wounding Michael Quinn.

Belfast Telegraph


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