Northern Ireland

Eamon Hughes killer jailed for 18 years

Eamon Hughes
Image caption Eamon Hughes was stabbed to death by Martin Murray in September 2008

A man has been given a life sentence for the murder of a father as he walked home from his daughter's 18th birthday party.

Martin Murray, 24, from Windmill Drive in Dungannon, must serve at least 18 years for the murder of Eamon Hughes.

The 49-year-old was killed in Dungannon in September 2008 as he returned home from the birthday celebration at a pub.

Another man, who attempted to murder two people who tried to help Mr Hughes, was jailed for at least 10 years.

Kevin Toye, 24, from Windmill Drive in Dungannon, was convicted of knocking down Martina Donaghy and her daughter Emma in a hijacked taxi as they tried to save the victim, who had been stabbed in the chest.

Murray's cousin, 24-year-old Liam Murray of Windmill Court in the town, was also handed an indeterminate sentence of at least five years after he was convicted of causing an affray on the scene of the murder.

A fourth man, William McDonagh, 26, from Kew Gardens in Ballymena was given an extended custodial sentence of eight years, but will serve an extra five years on licence.

Pain and suffering

Handing down the jail terms, Belfast Crown Court judge Mr Justice Treacy branded all four men as dangerous offenders from whom the public needed to be protected.

He said they all had convictions for violence in the past, had shown absolutely no remorse for their respective parts in the offences and had failed to change their ways despite previous court orders designed to address their offending.

The court was provided with victim impact statements from Eamon Hughes' widow, Eileen, his children Siobhan, Kevin and Tracey and Martina and Emma Donaghy.

Mr Justice Treacy said the deeply sad, eloquent accounts bear witness to the "irreversible intense suffering, pain and anguish sustained by these victims and their families".

He suggested that the defendant should be given copies of the statements so they could have an insight into the hurt they had caused.

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