Double killer almost decapitated Belfast victim with sword, court told

Forensic PSNI officers arrive at the scene of the sword attack in Belvoirin July last year
Forensic PSNI officers arrive at the scene of the sword attack in Belvoirin July last year

A father of five who murdered two men with a Samurai sword in a “frenzied” and “brutal” attack almost decapitated one of his victims, a court heard on Thursday.

Albert Armstrong has already been handed a life sentence for the murders of Colin ‘Bap’ Lindsay and Stanley Wightman, who both died as a result of “catastrophic” injuries sustained in the fatal assault.

While veteran loyalist Mr Lindsay, 47, was almost decapitated with his own sword, his 52-year old friend Stanley Wightman almost had a hand severed. He was rushed to hospital but died two days later.

Armstrong, from Grays Park in Belfast, will learn the minimum term he will serve in prison before being eligible for release when he is brought back to Belfast Crown Court on July 15.

Outlining the Crown case against Armstrong, Crown barrister Neil Connor QC described the deaths of the deceased as “two very violent and brutal killings” which occurred in Mr Lindsay’s Kirkiston Walk home on the Belvoir estate on July 8 last year.

The prosecutor said that post-mortems conducted on both victims concluded they died from multiple wounds to the neck.

Armstrong was arrested by police on the day of the incident. He initially denied involvement.

He stated that on July 8, he had taken Mr Wightman to an off licence, that all three men had consumed alcohol and that he went back out later that day to get drink.

Armstrong also made the case that when he returned from the second trip Mr Lindsay pulled a hatchet out and swung a sword at him. He said “both of them were at me”, and that in the struggle he lashed out and he couldn’t remember how many times he hit both of them.

Mr Connor said that, given the injuries, there was a “clear intention to kill” both men, and that Armstrong himself had no wounds.

He also told the court: “While he (Armstrong) accepts inflicting the injuries, he doesn’t really provide any explanation as to why he did that. There is an absence of explanation as to why he inflicted such catastrophic injuries.”

Mr Connor said that whilst the Crown accepted this was not a pre-meditated attack, it was the case that Armstrong was “discovered by his partner sitting in his car with blood on him and the murder weapon almost at his feet”.

Defence barrister Gavan Duffy QC, representing Armstrong, described the double killing as “something which was completely out of character and very unexpected”.

The barrister said that, on the day in question, his client had simply gone to the house to fix an alarm - but that all three men ended up “heavily intoxicated” and that a dispute of some kind erupted which resulted in an altercation.