Northern Ireland

Killer Eamon Coyle jailed for Omagh shop robbery

Eamon Coyle
Image caption Eamon Coyle, pictured at the time of his trial for killing his grandfather

A man who stabbed and strangled his grandfather while in his teens, has been given an eight-year sentence for beating a teenager during a robbery.

Eamon Charles Coyle, 21, of Drumlegagh Road South, between Drumquin and Omagh, was convicted in March of the 2012 robbery of an Omagh shop.

He attacked a teenage employee during the raid.

In 2010, Coyle admitted the manslaughter of his 78-year-old grandfather Francis O'Neill.

He broke into Mr O'Neill's home, stabbed him in the neck and strangled him for £80 rent money.

Initially given just a year's detention for the killing, it was later increased to two years.

At the time of the Omagh shop robbery, Coyle had been out on licence for 11 weeks. However, in October 2012 he was returned to Hydebank Young Offenders' Centre to serve the remainder of his manslaughter sentence.

Punched and hit with baton

During his three-day trial for the shop robbery on Omagh's Kevlin Road, the court heard that Coyle, who was armed with a baton, was one of two men who demanded cash from a young teenage shop assistant.

The assistant was punched in the face and chest before Coyle beat him with the baton as he tried to grab cash from the till.

During a struggle, the cash was scattered and Coyle and his partner managed to make off with just over £40.

Although wearing a hooded top, Coyle was later identified from CCTV footage as being one of the two robbers.

On Wednesday, a judge at Dungannon Crown Court, said it was a "serious incident which caused some physical injury to the young lone shop assistant and must have been very frightening for him", and that he was "subject to considerable force even when he was complying with your demands".

'Serious violence'

She said the robbery, although relatively unsophisticated, had involved a degree of limited planning, made all the more serious by the fact Coyle was on licence, was with a second assailant and "used gratuitous violence on a vulnerable young shop assistant working alone". Coyle had "played a central role and did not plead guilty".

The judge told him that from his record "it is sadly clear that, despite your age, the use of serious violence is not foreign to you".

However, she said while she found he posed a serious risk of harm to the public, "on balance I have some confidence" he would engage and undertake the work required of him when released back into the community.

The 21-year-old, will serve at least three years in prison before he can be released on the recommendation of parole commissioners.

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