Family of Gary Butcher devastated with sentence passed on to his killer

The family of Gary Butcher who was killed in a bar in Magilligan in July last year say they are 'devastated' at the sentence passed on his killer.

At Derry Crown Court, 21 year old Sean Doherty of Bawn Court, Ballykelly who admitted the manslaughter of Mr. Butcher was sentenced to two and a half years in prison.

His 26 year old brother Kevin of 5, Limestone Road, Magilligan who admitted standing on Mr Butcher after he had fallen to the ground received a six month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

Speaking after the sentences were passed, the dead man's brother Martin Butcher said the whole family was devastated.

Earlier the court had been told how Mr. Butcher died after being punched once by Sean Doherty who claimed he thought an argument was going to break out between the dead man and his father.

The court heard that there was bad blood between the two families over a land deal and Sean Doherty said he acted in a 'pre-emptive way' when he saw an argument between the two older men.

In passing sentence Judge Piers Grant said that Mr. Butcher had been the victim of an unprovoked attack.

The judge said Sean Doherty appreciated that what he did was 'unacceptable' and did not seek to excuse it, and sentenced him to two and a half years in prison.

Turning to Kevin Doherty the judge said that by standing on Mr. Butcher he had added insult if not specific injury to the deceased.

Kevin Doherty was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for two years.