Northern Ireland

NI paper review: Family relief as man jailed for 'heinous' murder

News Letter front page Image copyright News Letter
Daily Mirror front page Image copyright Daily Mirror

The family of an Antrim man murdered in his home have spoken of their relief after his killer was sentenced to at least 12 years, the Daily Mirror and News Letter report.

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.

Mr Shaw's family was at Belfast Crown Court on Tuesday for the sentencing.

The News Letter reports that his sister, Margaret Shaw, described the crime as "heinous and cowardly".

"It was a cold-blooded, brutal murder on a defenceless man in his own home," she said outside the courthouse.

"The acts displayed a high level of cruelty and an unprecedented disregard for human life".

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Mr Shaw, 56, was found dead in a house at Hillmount Gardens in Larne

Mr Shaw's family said they were relieved "a monster had been taken off the streets".

In the Daily Mirror, Margaret said her family had grieved the loss of their father to a heart attack and another brother in a road accident.

But she said the pain of Laurence's murder was "on a different level".

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt's visit to Northern Ireland for a hustings event in their race to be the next prime minister dominates the front pages of The Irish News and Belfast Telegraph.

The Belfast Telegraph leads with a story saying the successful candidate will "bin the Brexit backstop".

It reports that Mr Johnson and Mr Hunt pledged that the current backstop will be quashed as they set out their stall to party members in Northern Ireland.

Image copyright Reuters/PA
Image caption Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt were in Belfast for a hustings on Tuesday

Mr Johnson, the paper reports, described the backstop as "moral blackmail" by the EU while Mr Hunt said "it has to change or it has to go".

The Irish News reports that Boris Johnson defended DUP ties to Tory members before being given a a guided tour of Stormont by party leader Arlene Foster.

The Conservative minority government is propped up by a confidence and supply deal with the DUP.

At the hustings, The Irish News reports that Northern Ireland Conservative members "audibly grumbled" when Mr Johnson sought to defend his attendance at last year's DUP conference by saying it was "reasonable" and "justified".

The Irish News also reports that a criminal investigation into five police officers linked to the Greenvale Hotel tragedy was welcomed by one of the teenage victims' parents.

Image copyright Euphoria Allstar Cheerleading/Family/Edendork GAC
Image caption Lauren Bullock, Morgan Barnard, and Connor Currie died as they queued to get into an event on St Patrick's night

Darragh Mackin, the solicitor for the family of Morgan Barnard, said serious questions remained.

Mr Mackin said the decision to initiate the investigation "exonerates the family's efforts to ensure that no stone has been left unturned in the pursuance of the truth of what happened".

'Wild animals'

The story of two teenagers sentenced for a "vicious assault" on a girl on Bangor pier in April 2018 is covered in Wednesday's papers.

On Tuesday at Newtownards Crown Court, Cora Campbell and William Boyd, both 19, with addresses at Hydebank Prison, were sentenced to 32 months.

A third defendant, who is 17 and cannot be named, was told she must carry out 120 hours community service and write a letter of reflection to the victim.

The Belfast Telegraph carries a series of images of the attack, which was widely shared on social media at the time.

The judge said the defendants behaved like "wild animals".

The News Letter reports that police welcomed the convictions and hoped it offered "some measure of comfort" to the victim.

The Daily Mirror reports that former Friends star Courtney Cox has pledged to look after her boyfriend and Snow Patrol musician Johnny McDaid, from County Londonderry, following neck surgery.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Courteney Cox and Johnny McDaid

The 55-year-old is reported to have written online that she is "happy to be taking care of my man.

"I'm his number one fan."