Belfast Telegraph

Sword murderer told he must spend at least 14 years in jail

By John Cassidy

A Belfast man has been told he will have to spend a minimum of 14 years in prison without parole for the sword murders of two men, including a leading UDA figure.

Albert Armstrong admitted killing Colin 'Bap' Lindsay and Stanley Wightman last July.

Both men were found in the blood-soaked living room of Mr Lindsay's Kirkiston Walk bungalow in Belfast's Belvoir estate.

They were said to have suffered severe wounds inflicted by a Samurai sword. Mr Lindsay was almost decapitated and Mr Wightman nearly had a hand severed in the attack.

Passing a tariff sentence yesterday, Mr Justice Treacy said the two victims had died as a result of "catastrophic injuries following an altercation".

He told the court the men, who had been drinking with Armstrong all day, sustained "multiple incisive wounds to the neck which had been carried out with considerable force with a Samurai sword".

Mr Lindsay, a 47-year-old father-of-two, was pronounced dead at the scene on July 8 last year.

Mr Wightman (52) died two days later from his injuries.

Last month father-of-five Armstrong (47), of Grays Park, Ballylenaghan Upper, Belfast, was handed a life sentence by Mr Justice Treacy.

At that hearing, the prosecution had described the deaths of the deceased as "two very violent and brutal killings".

Armstrong lived with his partner in Belvoir at the time and was known in the local area as a bit of a handyman.

Neil Connor QC, prosecuting, said that on the day of the murder Mr Lindsay had been in contact with Armstrong asking him to fix a smoke alarm in his house, prompting Armstrong to drive the short distance to Mr Lindsay's home.

A trip to the off-licence was made and the three men then drank a "considerable quantity of both beer and vodka" in Mr Lindsay's house.

Armstrong returned to the off-licence at around 5pm, where he bought more beer. Just over two hours later, Armstrong arrived back at his partner's house.

She could tell he had been drinking, and also noticed he had blood on his hand and forehead. She also saw a blood-stained sword in the passenger footwell of his car.

When she asked Armstrong what had happened, he told her he had killed two people, the court heard. He told her: "I have killed 'Bap' Lindsay and Stanley. Nobody is going to f*** me over again", the court was told.

Mr Connor revealed that Armstrong asked his partner to help gather his clothes which he was going to burn in the back garden - but that never occurred as the police arrived and arrested Armstrong at 8.10pm.

Police were initially unable to enter Mr Lindsay's property at 8.19pm but an officer saw one stricken man in the front room.

They eventually entered the house at 8.30pm and while a clearly deceased Mr Lindsay was on the sofa, the severely injured Mr Wightman was found "lying in a pool of his own blood" on the living room floor.

Despite being rushed to hospital, Mr Wightman died two days after the attack from the wounds to his head and neck. His right hand was almost severed at the wrist as he tried to defend himself.

The prosecutor said that post-mortem examinations conducted on both victims concluded they died from multiple wounds to the neck, adding: "The weapon must have been wielded with some considerable force."

Armstrong returned to Belfast Crown Court yesterday for a tariff hearing on how long he would spend in prison for the double murder without remission.

The judge said Armstrong had not given a clear reason about "how the altercation had started" or why he had inflicted such "catastrophic injuries" on his two victims. Taking a number of aggravating factors into consideration, Mr Justice Treacy said he would move his starting point of sentence from 14 years to 20 years. "I determine the appropriate sentence before you could be released, if ever by the Parole Commissioners, is one of 14 years," he said.

As Armstrong was being led away in handcuffs to start his sentence, there was uproar in the public gallery from grieving relatives of the two murder victims, some of whom hurled abuse him.

One woman shouted through the glass partition: "I hope you rot in hell. You're a murderer, you're a monster. You are a gutless, evil monster."

Belfast Telegraph


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