Saturday 18 November 2017

'Last' sectarian killer of Ballymena schoolboy pleads guilty

Michael McIlveen
Michael McIlveen

A 24-YEAR-OLD man has pleaded guilty to the sectarian murder of an Antrim schoolboy more than seven years ago.

Jeff Colin Lewis, originally from Rossdale in Ballymena, will be sentenced for the murder of 15 year-old Michael McIlveen at a later date.

Known as 'Mickey-Bo', the teenager died in hospital on 8 May 2006 from head injuries after being "nailed" and bludgeoned with a baseball bat after he and a friend were cornered by a group of drunken Protestant youths in Ballymena.

In May 2009 Lewis and three others were jailed for life for their involvement in the murder. Lewis  was jailed along with 19-year-old Aaron Cavana Wallace of Moat Road, 20-year-old Meryvn Wilson Moon from Douglas Terrace and 22-year-old Christopher Francis Kerr of Carnduff Drive, also Ballymena.

Moon, who pleaded guilty to using the baseball bat supplied by Kerr during the attack, was told he would serve a minimum of 10 years in jail.

Lewis, Wallace and Kerr, who were given minimum sentences of 11 and 13 years, subsequently appealed both their convictions and sentences and last December the Court of Appeal quashed the convictions and ordered a retrial.

In April  Wallace and Kerr went on trial for the second time but changed their pleas and admitted their involvement in the McIlveen murder. In May Kerr was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment  for fetching the baseball bat used in the horrific attack while Wallace was given an eight-year sentence by Mr. Justice Weatherup.

Although Lewis again faces a mandatory life sentence for the murder, Mr Justice Weir, who on Friday lifted all previous reporting restrictions in the case, said it seemed to him "desirable" that the matter of sentence be dealt with by Mr Justice Weatherup.

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