Convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to three and a half years in jail, 21-year-old Daniel McCartney laughed as he left the dock at Craigavon Crown Court.
McCartney was sentenced to seven years, three and a half to be spent on licence for killing Craigavon father of two David Neill on September 16, 2012.
His brother Kevin McCartney was sentenced to nine years for Mr Neill’s murder. Mr Neill had been stabbed after the defendants arrived at his Parkmore home.
In an emotionally charged court room, friends and family of Mr Neill shouted ‘scumbags’ and ‘no justice’ soon after Judge Patrick Lynch handed down the sentences.
Daniel, who sat in the dock smirking throughout, sauntered casually to the cells laughing at his victim’s family after sentencing.
Friends and family of Mr Neill and the McCartney family were involved in a brawl at the doors of the court building.
Female relatives of the victim and the defendants came to blows, grabbing handfuls of hair and landing kicks and punches before court security staff and extra uniform police intervened and kept others from joining in.
One of Mr Neill’s sisters left court by ambulance after taking ill following the sentencing.
Judge Lynch outlined the case describing how Daniel McCartney had been in a relationship with Mr Neill’s daughter Nicole and the relationship had ended on the February prior to Mr Neill’s murder. Mr Neill and Nicole’s mother Cathy Cahoon had disapproved of the relationship.
Judge Lynch said Daniel McCartney had appeared to lay blame upon Nicole’s parents for their break up and described a prior incident when Mr Neill and Daniel ‘came to blows’ and he struck Cathy Cahoon breaking her nose.
“I come to no view as to the accuracy of this account but it does indicate the degree to which animosity between the parties had developed,” said Judge Lynch.
“Again, according to Cathy Cahoon, Daniel proceeded to carry out a campaign of harassment including causing damage to their fence, sending a bullet to the house and a barrage of threatening messages on Facebook,” he said.
On the night of the murder, seven people including David Neill, Cathy Cahoon and Kirsty Cahoon were at their home in Parkmore when they heard banging on the front door and glass breaking.
Judge Lynch outlined how the McCartney brothers went to the Neill household to confront another man Mark McKinley. “It has been accepted, on behalf of Kevin, that he armed himself with a knife before doing so,” said Judge Lynch.
Cathy went to the door and recognised Daniel standing on the path around 4-5 feet away. David came out and both he and Daniel began scuffling. Cathy describes that after a few seconds David collapsed. He had been stabbed.
Judge Lynch said that prior to the brothers’ plea, it had been the Crown case that Daniel had been the one who stabbed Mr Neill ‘understandably based on witness evidence’ and gave credit to Kevin McCartney for his plea of guilty to murder. “By virtue of his plea he has avoided a posible miscarriage of justice in that Daniel may have been convicted of the murder as principal,” said Judge Lynch.
Mr Neill’s partner Cathy described the sentences as ‘disgraceful’.
“The justice system is a complete joke, it’s a disgrace. I have been really let down,” she said.
Family friend Cathy Ruddell said: “They are scumbags. There is no justice in this country. How can that be justified.”