Northern Ireland

Laurence Shaw murder: Jackie McDowell jailed for 12 years

Jackie McDowell leaving court on Wednesday Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Jackie McDowell was pictured in a wheelchair with his legs in a cast when he appeared in court in 2017

A County Antrim man who slashed another man's throat after a drink and drugs binge has been jailed for 12 years.

Laurence Shaw, 56, was found at his home at Hillmount Gardens in Larne on 8 October 2017.

Jackie Murray McDowell, 40, of Laharna Avenue in Larne, pleaded guilty to murder in May.

Belfast Crown Court was told McDowell used two knives to slash Mr Shaw's neck and stab him in the chest.

The court heard McDowell stuffed tissue paper in the victim's mouth and throat.

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption 56-year-old Mr Shaw was found dead in a house at Hillmount Gardens in Larne

Two other charges against McDowell - arson and attempting to pervert the course of justice by setting fire to the property - were left on the books.

As McDowell was sentenced, Laurence Shaw's sister, Margaret Shaw, shouted at him: "Do to yourself what you did to my brother.

"His life is worth more than 12 years."

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Media caption'An unprecedented disregard for human life'

Outside the court, speaking for the Shaw family, she said it was a "heinous" crime.

"It was a cold blooded, brutal murder on a defenceless man in his own home.

"He was subjected to prolonged, brutal and merciless acts of violence before he met his untimely death. The acts displayed a high-level cruelty and an unprecedented disregard for human life."

She said their brother was well respected, loved and missed.

"He was the centre of our family. The chain is broken and we are missing a link," she said.

Det Insp Joanne Harris said Mr Shaw had been "brutally murdered in a place where he should have been safe".

She added: "Laurence's family have been left traumatised by their loss.

"Whilst nothing will take away their pain, I hope they get some comfort from knowing that his killer is now behind bars."

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