Window cleaner sentenced to twelve years for Lamont murder

Owen Gardner was sentenced at Belfast Crown Court
Owen Gardner was sentenced at Belfast Crown Court

A County Down window cleaner who “repeatedly stamped’’ on his victim’s head claiming it was self-defence was told today (Wednesday) he must serve a minimum of 12 years of his life sentence for murdering Coleraine man Mark Lamont.

Mr Justice Colton told 37-year-old Richard Hugh Jackie Dalzell he took the “view that this was a particularly serious assault when went behond that which could be considered self-defence or a fight for which there was legitimate justification.

“The assault is aggravated by the fact that the victim was clearly vulnerable as he was lying on the ground when his head was stamped upon repeatedly”.

The Belfast Crown Court judge also told the self-confessed UDA man that victim impact reports into the “tramatic and unnecessary death” should make him understand “the damage” he has caused.

Dalzell from Whinpark in Newtownards, claimed he was acting in self-defence and had “got the better” of 54-year-old Mr Lamont, one of three hooded men who initially ‘disturbed’ Dalzell and his girlfriend Deborah Ramsey.

The father of three was found in a critical condition, lying in a pool of blood outside her Ballycastle Road, home of in the early hours of September 26, 2016. Although later transferred from the local Causeway Coast Hosiptal to Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital, he never regained consciousness and died just over two weeks later on October 11.

Prosecution counsel Ciaran Murphy QC told the court last week despite Dalzell claims, the stamping on Mr Lamont’s head, “went well beyond what constituted self defence”.

Defence QC Martin O’Rourke said that Dalzell, who has been found to pose a “significant risk of serious harm to the public in the future” had, in both medical and pre-sentence reports, “expressed his remorse and guilt’’.

Mr O’Rourke said the attack “was not pre-planned or premeditated....there was no intention to kill,’’ adding that doctors had since diagnosed Dalzell “as suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder’’ (PTSD).