Wales

Stephen Gallagher jailed for murdering his 76-year-old father

Thomas Gallagher Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Victim Thomas Gallagher was described as "the glue, the carer, the problem solver" of the family

A man who stabbed his 76-year-old father to death has been told he will have to serve at least 13 years in prison - and may never be released.

Stephen Gallagher, 55, admitted murdering his father Thomas in an "intense" knife attack at their home in Cwmbran, Torfaen, last September.

Swansea Crown Court heard the victim suffered 10 stab wounds to the chest and pleaded with his killer to stop.

Handing him a life sentence, Judge Paul Thomas said the attack was "chilling".

The court heard Gallagher launched into the frenzied attack following an argument with his father over internet speeds at the home they shared on Kidwelly Road.

In addition to chest wounds, his father suffered wounds to his neck, back and hands.

Gallagher then phoned emergency services on 10 September, to say he had killed his father.

Image copyright Gwent Police
Image caption Stephen Gallagher told police he "wanted" his father to die

In police interviews, he said he "wanted him to die", the court heard.

"Mr Gallagher was subjected to an intense attack, of which he was unable to defend himself," said prosecutor Mark Wyeth QC.

At the time of his death, Thomas Gallagher's family described him as a "much-loved" and loving grandfather, who was "the glue, the carer, the problem solver" of the family.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Mr Gallagher's daughter Suzanne Pritchard said she had feared her estranged brother would "one day come for me and my mother" and that she had warned her father about allowing the defendant to live with him.

In her statement Miss Pritchard described the suffering, pain and anguish she had gone through "knowing dad had such a brutal, merciless end to his life".

Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Mr Gallagher was killed at the home he shared with his son on Kidwelly Road in Cwmbran

Judge Thomas told Gallagher he had "attacked his elderly father with savagery" and a "total lack of mercy towards him".

"The most chilling aspect of the butchery is what you yourself told the police that after you had started stabbing him, he was clearly in pain," added Judge Thomas.

"He appealed to you by calling your name, asking you to stop what you were doing but you showed him no mercy."

Jailing him for life, the judge said Gallagher would not be eligible to be considered for release until 2033.

"As you know, you may, in fact, never be released," he added.

Speaking after the sentencing, Det Supt Leanne Brustad from Gwent Police said: "This was a tragic incident that happened in the community of Llanyravon last year.

"Our thoughts are with the family of Thomas Gallagher and I hope that the conclusion of today's case brings them some closure."

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