Northern Ireland

Teenager get year's detention for killing grandfather

Eamonn Coyle
Image caption Eamonn Coyle received a year in a detention centre for killing his grandfather

A County Tyrone teenager has been jailed for a year for killing his 78-year-old grandfather during a robbery.

Sentencing Eamonn Coyle, 18, formerly from Homeview Terrace in Omagh, the judge lifted a previous order banning the press from identifying him.

He said this was to help clarify to the public why the sentence was a year's detention and two years on licence.

Coyle was 16 when he strangled and stabbed his grandfather, Francis O'Neill, at his home in Omagh in April.

He then stole £80 from the pensioner which he used to pay his rent.

In a situation described by a defence barrister as "unprecedented," the victim's daughters, who are the mother and aunt of the accused, gave evidence in support of him.

His mother, Rose Colton, told the court: "He is my son and I'll stand by him."

Image caption Francis O'Neill, 78, was strangled and stabbed in his home in Omagh

'Regret'

His aunt, Mary Kelly, said: "The person he loves most in this world is his mother, she is now the person that he's hurt most.

"He knows that and will regret it for the rest of his life."

Coyle initially denied having anything to do with death of Mr O' Neill and in June his trial for murder had almost run its course before it collapsed on a legal technicality.

Just before a re-trial was due to begin, he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter.

The prosecution accepted this but did not accept his version of events.

Coyle claimed he had found his grandfather already injured and dying and he was responsible for his death only because he had failed to call an ambulance or to alert anyone to what was happening.

However, Mr Justice McLaughlin rejected this version of events and said it was clear it was Coyle who had killed his grandfather who was said to be very fond of him.