Man jailed for 12 years for murdering friend in Co Down

Kyle Neil (left) and Wesley Vance (right) pictured together. Pic Pacemaker

Kyle Neil (left) and Wesley Vance (right) pictured together. Pic Pacemaker

A man who murdered his friend after stabbing him 200 times during a drunken row has been given a 12 year sentence without parole.

Wesly Harry Vance, 28, of Church Gate Studios, Comber, Co Down, was told by a judge that he would “serve the sentence in full without remission’’.

Kyle Neil

Kyle Neil

Vance had pleaded guilty to murdering friend Kyle Neil (23) in his apartment on April 12, 2015 after he claimed a fight broke out after he asked Mr Neil to leave but he refused.

He claimed Mr Neil came at him with a knife and acted in self defence, telling police it was a “frenzied and repeated attack’’, adding: “I lost power when he was going to try and kill me. It was either his life or my life’.

Co-accused Stephanie Todd (26), of Russell Court, Belfast, was given a 12 month conditional discharge for obstructing police investigating Mr Neil’s murder.

The mother-of-one was also banned from driving for three months for driving Vance’s car with Mr Neil’s body in boot with excess alcohol. A charge against her of assisting an offender was left on the books in the usual terms

Wesley Vance arriving for a previous court appearance

Wesley Vance arriving for a previous court appearance

Mr Neil’s body was found in the boot of Vance’s Ford Fiesta car after Todd drove it to her mum’s house at Windsor Avenue in south Belfast.

The judge said Todd had “played no role or had any responsibility’’ for the death of Mr Neil.

A post mortem examination said Mr Neil sustained 200 knife wounds and the fatal wound was to an artery in the neck.

Passing sentence on Monday at Downpatrick Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, Mr Justice Colton said he was giving “significant and substantial credit’’ to Vance for his guilty plea which had “spared Mr Neil’s family of having to come to court to listen to the harrowing evidence in this case’’.

Stephanie Todd was also sentenced on Monday

Stephanie Todd was also sentenced on Monday

“I think there can be little doubut that he (Vance) contemplated) disposing of the body when he put it in the boot,’’ said Mr Justice Colton.

“But he did not take any steps to the disposed of the body. He ultimately realised that he would have to face the consequences.’’

As Vance was led away in handcuffs by prison staff, relatives of Mr Neil sitting behind screens in the public gallery shouted abuse at him, calling him a “murdering bastard’’.

One relative tapped the glass partition of the gallery and shouted: “Remember his face. Hope it stays with you for the rest of your life.’’