Four brothers who killed Portadown woman Lisa McClatchey and her boyfriend after setting fire to their home were sentenced to a total of 43 years in prison.
Niall, Martin, Stephen and Christopher Smith showed no emotion when the sentences were passed for the manslaughters of Lisa (21) and Thomas O’Hare, 33.
The couple died after the Smith brothers arrived at their Foley Road home in the Tassagh area of Co Armagh in November 2006. Wearing balaclavas and armed with canisters of petrol and a sledgehammer, the brothers poured the flammable liquid around the house before setting it alight.
The Smith brothers stood trial last year at Armagh Crown Court, where a jury found them not guilty of murder but convicted them of the double manslaughter.
They were also acquitted of a charge of arson, but found guilty by a jury of attempted arson.
Mr Justice Weatherup, sitting at Belfast Crown Court, branded the incident as a “kind of vigilantism” and said their actions on the night in question were “wholly unwarranted”.
Martin, 41, Christopher, 34, and 31-year-old Stephen Smith were each handed an 11-year prison sentence followed by a one-year custody probation order.
Niall, 38, will spend 10 years in custody with an additional year’s custody probation order, as he indicated that he would have admitted to a charge of manslaughter.
Defence barristers for the men pointed out that all four sustained burn injuries in the attack.
One brother was so badly injured that the last rites were given in hospital, while another brother spent a period in a medically induced coma.
The judge said that after hatching a plan, the Smith brothers embarked on a joint venture and that “each had different roles to play”.
He told the court he held each man equally responsible.
As the four brothers were being led from the dock their mother Molly wept in the public gallery.