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Teen jailed for killing Traveller gets retrial

A teenager jailed for murdering another Traveller hacked to death in front of his wife is to face a retrial, the Court of Appeal has ordered.

Senior judges allowed 18-year-old Martin Stokes' appeal against being convicted of killing John Mongan due to conflicting witness descriptions and a sense of unease about the safety of the verdict. But they dismissed appeals by Christopher Stokes and Edward Stokes, who were also both found guilty of the murder.

Mr Mongan (30) was attacked by hatchets and other bladed weapons after intruders broke into his home at Fallswater Street, west Belfast, in February 2008.

The father-of-three was killed in front of his heavily pregnant wife Julia, suffering up to 50 wounds.

The killers had smashed through a barricaded bedroom door to get at their target.

The accused, all from Londonderry, were jailed by a judge who told them they had taken the law into their own hands in setting out to “slay” the victim.

Martin Stokes, who was just 15 at the time of the murder, was handed a minimum 16-year term.

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