The 34-year-old Fermanagh man who stabbed his brother David to death during an argument after the Twelfth of July in 2012 has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison and a further two and a half on licence.
Police were called to an address in Killesher in the early hours of July 13, 2012 following reports that a stabbing had taken place.
The accused was later arrested and interviewed a number of times over a three day period during which he gave his version of events. He had then been released on bail before pleading guilty to manslaughter
Raymond Johnston appeared in Laganside court where he received the sentence.
Updates to follow here on Fermanaghherald.com
Justice Weir passed a sentence of five years, half to be spent in prison and the other half on licence.
Family and friends of David gathered in Court 13 at Laganside Court to hear the sentencing which lasted just fifteen minutes.
Justice Weir briefly outlined the background leading up to the incident in which David was stabbed six times by his brother.
The court heard that Raymond called to his brother’s new home on July 12, 2012, but went their separate ways to enjoy the public holidays. In the hours proceeding the two men had a ‘considerable’ amount to drink before they met again at Raymond’s house.
The two brothers continued to drink alcohol with Judge Weir commenting that if he (Raymond) has stopped at that point, ‘this terrible event would have been avoided’.
An argument had started between the brothers earlier in the night over who was in the better state to drive home, however there was no animosity between the two brothers as they drove to Johnston’s home.
However, a row erupted when they arrived at the defendant’s house which awoke his pregnant girlfriend.
She saw David brandishing a knife and threatening to kill Raymond and sexually assault his girlfriend.
She pleaded with David to stop but both men went outside to continue the fight.
A short time later Johnston returned half naked from the waist up with heavy bloodstains on his hands.
Judge Weir stated: “You expected him to come back into the house, but he did not and collapsed from the loss of blood.
“He rang your mother saying he had been stabbed and thought he was dying. Police evidence said that he must have been staggering about outside from the scattered blood stains on the ground.
“Your mother came over and tried to find your brother but by that time it was too late.
“It was agreed that all the stab wounds were inflicted during the struggle.”
The court heard that Mr Johnston’s wounds were not fatal but the combination of the amount of alcohol he had taken and the lack of medical intervention, had led to his death.
It was said that Johnston was not intent on killing his brother and when he returned to the house he told those present that they had a ‘wee row’ which the Judge explained it suggested that Johnston did not think he had inflicted life threatening wounds.
Johnston’s recollection of the incident is very limited because of the amount of alcohol he had consumed with Judge Weir adding that his addiction to alcohol played a part in this.
He continued: “Your employer described you as a hard working and talented person but your down fall has been your addiction to alcohol and drugs which previously led to the loss of a job. It has seriously damaged your life and led to the loss of your brother.
“Your mother, sister, partner and employer have expressed that you have good talent and a lot of potential.
“You have sought the help of the Church, which I hope you continue to do, and you have now come to the cross-roads in life.
“You might salvage something from this family catastrophe. But if you relapse upon your release then your future looks bleak. Take advantage of the help available to you in prison.
“Your remorse is not expressed in self-pity but by the consequences of your actions.”
Family and friends of Johnston sat in the public gallery and watched as he was taken away to serve his two and a half year sentence.
There were emotional scenes outside the court has family members comforted those who cried.
The family did not want to comment on the sentencing.
To read more.. Subscribe to current edition