Suspended sentences for five people in Strickland murder case

Philip Strickland
Philip Strickland

Five people who gave false information to police after the murder of Comber man Phillip Strickland were yesterday given suspended sentences at Belfast Crown Court.

Melissa Dickson, 22, from Derryboye Road, Killinchy, John Lawlor, 44, from Lysander Park , Newtownards, Stacey McCaughey, 23, from Blenheim Drive, Newtownards and North Lucas, 46, from Ballycreely Road, Comber all admitted perverting the course of justice. Lesley Weir, 22, from Lisbane Drive in Newtownards pleaded guilty to withholding information. Her father Jimmy Seales and brothers Jason and Ian Weir are due to be sentenced next week for murdering Mr Strickland, 36, along with co-accused Stephen McCaughey.

Strickland, a farm labourer, was shot in the leg at a yard outside Comber in January 2012 before being bundled into the boot of his blue Citroen Saxo and driven away to be shot in the face.

Sentencing all five to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years, Mr Justice Weir told them: “This was a loathsome crime and you have all, in one way or another, played your part in attempting to conceal it for a period.”