Toome man jailed for 20 years over murder of Bellaghy teenager

Phelim McNally at Derry Crown Court on Friday
Phelim McNally at Derry Crown Court on Friday

A man has been jailed for 20 years after he was convicted of murdering the teenage sister of his ex-partner at a house in Bellaghy.

Phelim McNally (27), from Station Park in Toomebridge, Co Londonderry, had pleaded guilty to the murder of Lauren O’Neill (18) and to the attempted murder of his ex-partner Brenda O’Neill in her home in William Court, Bellaghy, on May 19 of last year.

Following a tariff hearing last month, Mr Justice Seamus Treacy yesterday told McNally that he’ll serve 20 years in prison before he’s eligible to apply for parole.

The judge described McNally’s murder of Lauren as “an act of extraordinary wickedness in which he fired aimed shots from a shotgun intending to murder. Lauren, who was just 18 at the time, was struck twice. The severe injury to her heart caused by the shotgun discharge was responsible for her rapid death”.