Northern Ireland

Bangor party killer Mark Wallace must serve 14 years

Katie Hughes
Image caption Katie Hughes, 21, was stabbed to death at a party in Bangor

A man who stabbed his girlfriend to death in front of guests at a house party has been told he must serve at least 14 years of a life sentence.

Mark Wallace, 26, from Elmwood Drive in Bangor, told friends he was thinking of stabbing Katie Hughes weeks in advance of her death in April 2009.

He became jealous after hearing the 21-year-old talking to a friend about a previous relationship.

Wallace, a former drug addict, was once forced to leave NI by paramilitaries.

On the night of the murder Wallace went into the kitchen of the house in Park Avenue in Bangor and returned to a sofa to sit beside Ms Hughes, who has a four year old child, before attacking her with a knife he had taken from a drawer.

At first, stunned guests thought the couple were "messing around" but when one of them confronted Wallace he swung the knife at him too.

'Murderous attack'

Wallace ran from the party and when he saw police at his mother's home, he ended up in a house in Newtownards where he told a friend that Ms Hughes had been "winding him up and making a fool of him in front of his mates".

He said he had been thinking of killing her for a few weeks and also talked about stabbing his mother "because she had touted on him".

Police arrested Wallace in Newtownards and he claimed he had got the kitchen knife to scare his girlfriend but he said he snapped and lashed out at her after she "said something".

The judge, Mr Justice Hart, dismissed Wallace's claims that he hadn't intended to kill Ms Hughes.

The judge said there was no evidence that Ms Hughes had done or said anything to provoke "this murderous attack."

In a victim impact report the murdered girl's mother Helen Hughes said Wallace had "wrecked her family in the blink of an eye"

She said her daughter had lived life to the full.

Mr Justice Hart said that on his own admission Wallace had attacked a man at a party a few days before the murder. He said he had hit him over the head with a bottle.

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