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Four Smith brothers jailed over McClatchey and O’Hare deaths

Christopher Paul Smith, Martin Edward Smith, Stephen Desmond Smith and Niall Colum Smith.

Christopher Paul Smith, Martin Edward Smith, Stephen Desmond Smith and Niall Colum Smith.

Four brothers who killed a couple after setting fire to their home in a remote area of Co Armagh have been sentenced to a total of 41 years in prison.

Niall, Martin, Stephen and Christopher Smith showed no emotion when the sentences were passed for the manslaughters of Thomas O’Hare and his partner Lisa McClatchey.

The couple died after the Smith brothers arrived at their Foley Road home in the Tassagh area of Co Armagh in November 2006. Wearing balaclavas and armed with cannisters of petrol and a sledgehammer, the four-man gang of brothers poured petrol around the house before setting it alight.

The Smith brothers stood trial last year at Armagh Crown Court, where a jury found them not guilty of murder but convicted them of the double manslaughter.

Earlier on Thursday Mr Justice Weatherup, sitting at Belfast Crown Court, branded the incident as a “kind of vigilantism” and said their actions on the night in question were “wholly unwarranted.”

Martin (41), Christopher (34) and 31-year old Stephen Smith were each handed an 11-year prison sentence followed by a one-year custody probation order. Niall (38) will spend ten years in custody with an additional year’s custody probation order, as he indicated that he would have admitted to a charge of manslaughter.

As the four brothers were being led from the dock, their mother Molly wept in the public gallery.

 
 
 

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