Published Thursday, 10 April 2014
Angry scene broke out following the sentencing. (© UTV)
As Judge Patrick Lynch QC jailed Kevin McCartney for at least nine years for murder and his younger brother Daniel for seven years for manslaughter, relatives and friends of their victim David Neill erupted in fury, screaming abuse at the self-confessed killers, labelling them "scumbags" and the sentence a "disgrace".
As Daniel McCartney was led away to the cells, he walked nonchalantly from the court, one hand in his pocket and other handcuffed to a prison officer, laughing at their distress.
He will serve half his term in prison and the remainder on licence.
In the aftermath of the sentencing hearing, paramedics had to be called to treat Mr Neill's sister who had been overcome with emotion as the two factions left the courthouse, his daughter Nicole and a sister of the McCartneys 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.
Outside the court, Mr Neill's partner Cathy Cahoon said the sentences handed down to his killers were a "complete joke".
"The justice system is a complete joke, it's a disgrace. I have been really let down by the justice system," she said.
On the day their trial was due to begin last month, 29-year-old Kevin pleaded guilty to the murder of Mr Neill while his 21-year-old brother Daniel admitted his manslaughter.
The Craigavon father-of-two bled to death in the arms of his daughter Kirsty near his home at Parkmore Gardens after Kevin McCartney landed a single stab wound to his chest in the early hours of 16 September 2012.
Daniel, from Enniskeen in Craigavon, also pleaded guilty to two counts of causing criminal damage by breaking windows of Mr Neill's house and car two days before the fatal stabbing.
A third man, Deiviidas Neimontas, 18, who pleaded guilty to affray, walked free from court last week after his 12 month jail term was suspended for two years.
On Thursday, Judge Lynch recounted how the background to the offences lay in a relationship Nicole had with Daniel McCartney, a relationship of which Mr Neill and her mother did not approve of and was said to have "caused friction" between his victim and the defendant with McCartney laying the blame for their split at her parents.
His campaign of harassment where Daniel McCartney broke their fence, posted threatening messages on Facebook and sent a bullet to Mr Neill, culminated in a fight between the brothers and their victim when Kevin McCartney stabbed him in the chest.
© UTV News