Published Thursday, 28 June 2012
Kinneway pleaded guilty to the murder of Paul Owens in February 2011. (© PSNI)
David Kenneway had been due to go on trial back in May for the murder of 18-year-old Paul Owens, but pleaded guilty at the last minute and was handed an automatic life sentence.
At Downpatrick Crown Court on Thursday, Mr Justice Stephens ruled that the 27-year-old killer - who is originally from Dundalk, but has an address at Kenard Villas in Newry - must serve a minimum of 13 years in jail.
The judge added that it would then be up to the Parole Commissioners to decide if Kenneway still posed a danger to the public.
The victim was stabbed three times - in the face, arm and chest - during a confrontation in Donard car park in Newcastle on 26 February last year.
He had been drinking with friends when one of the group traded insults with Kenneway.
A previous court had heard that Kenneway produced the knife after having been subjected to a "vicious and sustained" beating, including being kicked "square in the face".
Weighing up the mitigating and aggravating factors, Mr Justice Stephens accepted that Kenneway had not set out to kill anyone, that he had himself been attacked and that he had shown remorse.
However, he also noted that Kenneway had armed himself with the knife in advance, had inflicted more than one injury on the victim, and had 68 previous convictions - including for weapons-related offences.
The judge also said he had "reservations about the long-term duration" of the killer's regret.
Kenneway's former girlfriend, 21-year-old Lynsey Cahoon, was also sentenced on Thursday for assisting an offender by giving a false description to police and trying to destroy evidence.
The mother-of-one, from Rodney Drive in Belfast, had admitted washing Kenneway's clothes and the murder weapon out of a "misplaced sense of loyalty".
There had still been blood all over the kitchen of the flat they shared when it was raided by police at 5am on the day of the killing.
Mr Justice Stephens told Cahoon that, but for the "wholly exceptional" features of her case, she would have been jailed - as it was, he handed down a three-year prison sentence suspended for three years.