Three jailed over Edward Meenan murder
THE family of Eddie Meenan has said "no sentence passed will bring him back" after three men involved in the "sustained and brutal" killing were jailed.
Mr Meenan was attacked with sewer rods, a baseball bat and a knife in the rear garden of a house on Derry's Creggan Street in the early hours of November 25, 2018.
The 52-year old father-of-nine was stripped to just his underwear and dragged into an alleyway.
He sustained 52 stab wounds and dozens of injuries including a shattered nose and fractures to both legs.
The three men who attacked him - Sean Rodgers, Derek Creswell and Ryan Walters - appeared at Derry Crown Court, sitting in Belfast - where there were sentenced yesterday.
Rodgers (34) of no fixed abode, who denied murdering Mr Meenan but who was unanimously convicted earlier this year by a jury, was told he will serve a minimum of 18 years in jail before he is considered eligible for release.
As she imposed the sentence, Judge Donna McColgan spoke of the "gratuitous violence" meted upon Mr Meenan and said all the evidence suggested Rodgers "as being the person who stabbed Mr Meenan either when he was already dead or very close to it".
Creswell (30), with an address at Mullaghmore Drive in Omagh, Co Tyrone, will also serve 15 years for murder.
Ryan Walters (23), from Station Road, Crossgar, Co Down, will serve four years in prison and four on licence for manslaughter.
A fourth co-accused - Sinead Martina Whyte from St Brecans Park in Derry - was placed on probation for three years on a charge of withholding information.
The 38-year-old lived at the property where Mr Meenan was killed. She was not present when he was murdered but admitted to failing to provide information to police about what happened at her home.
As she sentenced all four, Judge McColgan spoke of the impact the murder has had on Mr Meenan's family, including his 81-year-old mother Nancy.
In her statement, the grieving mother said her son's absence has left "an emptiness in my heart and in my home" and that she was "devastated and heartbroken".
Speaking outside court, Mr Meenan's niece Natasha Duddy said: "No amount of years will ever bring Eddie back.
"It doesn't matter if they get 20 years, 18 years, it will never bring him back.
"They can go home at the end of the day and see their families. We will never see Eddie again. It doesn't matter to us what time they serve in prison, we can't go and get Eddie. We can't bring him back. We'll never be able to bring him back."
She added: "He was brutally murdered. We didn't get to see him. We didn't get any closure. It's not right.
"We have to go on without him, although we miss him. We never stop thinking about him. He's always in our thoughts. We will never to be able to be at peace."
Det Ch Insp John Caldwell said Mr Meenan "lost his life in the most brutal, sickening and tragic way".
"Losing a loved one is never easy but for the family and friends of Edward Meenan to lose their loved one in such a savage and degrading way, which showed a complete disregard for human life, is heartbreaking," he said.
"I hope that the sentences handed down to his killers will give Edward Meenan's loved ones, and all those who have been left devastated by his death, a degree of closure and a sense of justice."