04/09/2012

Man Who Forgot Killing Best Friend Is Jailed

A man who was so drunk he does not remember killing his best friend has been jailed for at least seven years.

Leon Robert Paul Johnston, from Ballydugennan Villas, Toomebridge, stabbed Michael McLaughlin, 24, four times in his Hillhead Road flat near Castledawson on August 8, 2010.

Mr McLaughlin’s mother said the sentence was an "insult", but she also apologised to the judge in her son’s killer’s case for her emotional outburst.

In July, the court heard that Johnston, now 26, was so drunk during the stabbing that he could not remember it.

He and Mr McLaughlin had spent the day drinking together and the stabbing happened after Mr McLaughlin came home with his girlfriend to find Johnston sleeping in the front room.

Judge Mr Justice McLaughlin told Johnston that his sentence was indeterminate and he would only be freed at such a time as he was deemed to be safe.

A defence solicitor told the court that Johnston was "deeply remorseful" for the stabbing.

He has been abstinent from drink and drugs since he was arrested for killing Mr McLaughlin.

(NE)

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