TWO JAILED OVER BRUTAL MURDER OF CHRISTOPHER MELI IN WEST BELFAST

DETECTIVES from the PSNI’s Major Investigation Team have today welcomed the sentencing  handed down to 8 persons for their involvement in the incident that led to the manslaughter of 20 year old Christopher Meli from West Belfast on 12th December 2015.

At Belfast Crown Court today, Thursday 16 January, the following persons were sentenced:

22 year old male Lee Smytb was sentenced to 9 years imprisonment – half to be served in custody and half on licence for manslaughter, 6 months’ imprisonment for affray, 6 months’ imprisonment for AOABH (against a third party) and 6 months imprisonment for AOABH (against a third party), all sentences to run concurrently.

20 year old Caolan Laverty was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment – half in custody and half on licence for manslaughter and 6 months imprisonment for AOABH (on a third party), both sentences to run concurrently.

21 year old Shannon McIlwaine was given 1 years’ conditional discharge for affray.

20 year old Daniel McManus was given 1 years’ probation for affray

22 year old Stephen McCann was given 150 hours community service  for affray

22 year old Aaron Stilges was given 2 years’ probation for affray and assault occasioning actual bodily harm (AOABH refers to an assault on a third party)

21 year old Gary Lewis male was given a combination order of 2 years’ probation and 40 hours community service for affray and assault occasioning actual body harm (AOABH refers to an assault on a third party)

21 year old Gareth McGrath was given 100 hours community service for affray

The senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Darren McCartney, said:  “Today’s sentencing brings to a close the investigation into Christopher’s death which occurred in December 2015. 

“While we welcome the sentences our thoughts must turn to Christopher’s parents, son and extended family. 

“They have had to deal with the unexpected and  tragic loss of their son, father and brother. 

“The effects of this loss on the family have been devastating, especially for Christopher’s young son who was only two years old when his father was cruelly taken from him, denying him the opportunity to build childhood memories.

“Whilst nothing will bring Christopher back I hope that the completion of this trial will allow everyone to begin the process of dealing with their loss.”

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