The brother of a man brutally beaten to death with a hammer says he is disgusted one of the killers is free after serving just three and a half years in prison.
David Lorimer said he was disgusted and angry that James Jordan is walking the streets as a free man, while his own family still struggles to cope with the loss of his brother Andrew.
Jordan was released on supervised parole in January.
Another man convicted of killing 43-year-old Andrew in his Lurgan flat in February 2012, Christopher Wright, has also qualified for an early release scheme.
Jordan was jailed for four years while Wright and a third man, Richard Chester, were given five years in 2013 when they pleaded guilty to Andrew’s manslaughter.
Their victim’s badly beaten body was only found when a burglar broke in to his flat two days after the vicious assault.
During the court case, the judge said Mr Lorimer had been left to crawl around in his flat for two days before finally succumbing to his extensive injuries.
Mr Justice Weir said the men had carried out a “ferocious, sustained and brutal attack” using fists, kicks and a hammer.
Since the convictions, David Lorimer (53) and his family have tirelessly campaigned against what they considered lenient sentences.
Now that one of the killers has been released, Mr Lorimer said he is still appalled at the justice system. “We’ve been everywhere, we’ve met (Justice Minister) David Ford and wrote to the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) and local politicians and it has all been a waste of time,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.
“We’ve been fighting for the past four years and there is nothing more to be done, and now we have to live with the fact that one of Andrew’s killers is walking free and another is due to be released to work in the community soon.
“It is just terrible. I am disgusted and I am angry. There is no justice and, to be honest, I just can’t get my head around it. These guys changed their pleas at the last minute and got lighter sentences. If you go to hit somebody with a hammer you are going out to do serious injury or kill them.
“I’ve said all along that the law needs to be changed and there needs to be different degrees of manslaughter.
“With the election coming up, I wish some of the politicians would include this in their manifestos and promise to look at our justice system because there was no justice for Andrew.
“Friends have tried to tell me to forget it but I can’t forget it. It eats at me every day and I miss Andrew every day.”
Mr Lorimer now fears he will come face-to-face with his brother’s killers in his home town. It is a prospect he dreads but believes is inevitable.
“This is a small town and there is no doubt one day I will run into them.
“I can’t say how I will react, and it is a terrible thought that that could happen and one that I don’t even want to think about.”
David - who says his entire family, brother Philip (51) and mum Marian (79), have had their lives shattered by Andrew’s loss - says he has got through only with the support of a local counselling service, Care in Crisis.
David has been receiving counselling for the trauma of Andrew’s death for three years and it is still ongoing.
To show his gratitude and to try and give something back to his local community, he is currently raising funds for the charity by running the Belfast Marathon.
“Care in Crisis have been a lifeline for me, they have kept me sane,” he added.
“I was at my wits end one day when I just called into their offices and they have been supporting me for the past three years and are continuing to support me.
“I’ve struggled with depression since Andrew was killed and I don’t know where I would be without the charity, which is why I have decided to do the marathon to raise funds for them and to say thank you and give something back.”
David hopes to raise £400 and already has £200 and is appealing for support on his JustGiving page.
He also expressed his sympathy with the family of murdered Lurgan woman Laura Marshall, whose body was found in her flat in the town last week.
“The death of that young woman just brought it all back for us,” he added.
“That wee girl died a brutal death in her own flat just like Andrew, and God love her parents, they’ve lost their daughter and they are in for a rough ride.”