Northern Ireland news

Colin Horner's mother says justice has been served as killers who caused her family 'excruciating pain' are jailed

 Lesley Horner holds a picture of her son Colin Horner as she speaks outside court following the jailing of four men for her son's death

The grieving mother of murdered father-of-two Colin Horner says she feels justice for her son has been served after she watched four men sent to prison for over 60 years.

The 35-year-old was killed by a lone gunman outside Sainsbury's supermarket in Bangor in May 2017.

Speaking outside Laganside Court today, Lesley Horner said that while nothing will bring her son back, those involved in his death are now behind bars "for a very long time".

She also said it was "extremely difficult" to deal with the verbal abuse directed at her and her family by supporters of the jailed men moments after the sentences were passed.

Holding back tears, Mrs Horner branded them as "scum" and said she was glad they were off the streets.

She said: "I know there are families out there who haven't had justice...

"I'm not saying we are lucky, luck doesn't come in to it. The pain this has caused me and my family, it has just been excruciating."

Four men were jailed today after pleading guilty to the murder last week. The four had been handed automatic life sentences, but today discovered the minimum time they must serve before being considered for parole.

CCTV footage of Colin Horner with his young son moments before he was gunned down:

Alan Wilson (30) of North Green, Newtownards, and Bangor man Ryan Graham Smyth (31) of Windsor Gardens were ordered to serve a minimum of 16 years while Joseph Blair (35), of Shackleton Walk, Newtowards, was given a minimum of 15 and a half years, and Robert Ralph, (47) of Donaghadee Roa in Newtownards was ordered to serve 15 years.

Sentenced along with them, but free on suspended jail terms, on seperate charges of withholding information on the killing were Adrian Gordon Price (48), of Bristol Park, Newtownards, and Terrie Aicken (24), from Green Road in Conlig.

Mrs Horner also said her son will live on through his two children "and through me as I will keep his memory alive forever".

She also slammed media reports that Colin was killed due to a loyalist feud, and instead said he was killed because he stooiup to paramilitaries.

"He was a good boy and I would like to say, it was put out there about loyalists feuds and this that and the other. My son was murdered because he stood up to scum. He wanted to get on with his life and bring his kids up, but they wouldn't leave him alone - and I'm proud of him."

She also issued a warning about the dangers of paramilitaries and referred to the murder of Ian Ogle in east Belfast on Sunday night.

"There's another man killed the other night. It's just crazy. It just needs to stop. Families are suffering. We are losing our sons, our children. It's just not on. It's pathetic."

The Belfast grandmother said that while it was "extremely difficult" to attend court, she had to see justice for her son.

She said: "I just kept talking to Colin in my head and going 'I'm doing this for you son, I'm going to do you proud, with dignity'."

Reacting to the verbal abuse outside the court, Mrs Horner said: "Just to see them again thinking they are tough men with their thumbs up saying 'bye, we're away to jail'.

"We had to be there to see them cuffed and actually physically see them being taken down. Colin is gone, my son is not coming back. Some families don't even get justice so we are glad we got justice today."

And when asked about Colin's son Oscar, who was three years of age and with his father when he was shot dead in a supermarket car park, Mrs Horner said: "He's doing good.

"He's a delightful wee boy and we will keep his daddy's memory alive. I talk to him all the time about his daddy.

"I have a photo in my bedroom and he stays with me at the weekend and he got up and he went to me 'Granny' and I said 'what darling?' and he said to me 'there's my daddy in that photo' and I said 'yes darling' and he said 'I want to get into that photo to see my daddy.' It's heart-breaking."

(l-r)  Joseph Blair, Robert Ralph, Alan Wilson, Ryan Smyth

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