A MAN already on parole for grievous bodily harm through dangerous driving has been sentenced to four years and ten months for the unlawful killing of a man in December 2009.
Portstewart man Trevor Spiers, 28, was killed during a brawl outside a night club in the town. Mr Spiers was well-known throughout the Ballymoney area.
Francis Paul McCormick, 33, from Queens Court, Coleraine, who had originally been charged with murder, will serve two years and ten months in prison.
He will then be released on supervised licenced parole for the same period.
Mr Spiers’ family issued a statement to the Press after the hearing on Friday:
“As we, Trevor’s family, leave this court today and try to continue with our lives, we are, as we always have been, at one with Trevor and our dignity and spirit remain unbroken.
“Whatever happens in our lives, although Trevor died at the hands of a coward, he lives with us forever in our hearts and minds.
“As a family, we feel that Francis McCormick, Luke McArthur, Paul McCormick and Peter Henderson have displayed a total lack of remorse during their court appearances in the past 27 months; as well as a complete disregard for the suffering they have inflicted on our family and the fact that a human life was taken.
“Francis McCormick’s behaviour has been particularly upsetting for us.
“Trevor is gone and cannot represent himself, so it has been our duty to do so.
“However, Mr McCormick is guilty of killing Trevor and, in retrospect, this makes his past behaviour and seeming disregard for the pain he has caused, all the more galling and a very bitter pill to swallow indeed.
“The sentences, which they will no doubt treat as yet another inconvenience, will be served and they will be free to go on living their lives.
“Trevor has not been afforded this luxury and indeed, Trevor’s mother, father, siblings and extended family are left broken with a lifetime of questions and hurt.”
“In light of today’s events, we shall be exploring all possible legal avenues open to us with regards to the leniency of the sentence,” the statement concluded.
Judge David McFarland told McCormick that all the specialist medical evidence agreed that but for Mr Spiers having taken cocaine just prior to his death, he might have survived.
The Antrim Crown Court judge, sitting in Coleraine, said the fight outside Portstewart’s Shenanigans night club in the early hours of 3 December 2009, was short in duration and that the number of punches or kicks from McCormick were limited and glancing.
The murder charge was not proceeded with when he pleaded pleaded guilty last month to the manslaughter of Mr Spiers, whose death was described as a terrible tragedy and a warning to others by defence QC Laurence McCrudden.
Sentenced along with McCormick was his 22-year-old nephew Paul McCormick from Edenmore Way, Ballymoney, who admitted assaulting Mr Spiers’ friend Michael Black and unlawfully fighting and causing an affray.
Also sentenced for the affray were 33-year-old Luke McArthur from Portstewart Road, Coleraine, and 25-year-old Robert Peter Henderson, of Greenhall Manor, also Coleraine. Henderson also admitted assisting offenders by disposing of a necklace.