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Man who murdered fianceé handed life sentence after 'brutal attack'

The PSNI welcomed the sentence.

David Lyness
David Lyness
Image: PSNI

POLICE IN THE North have today welcomed the life sentence handed down to David Lyness for the murder of his fianceé. 

Lyness was found guilty recently of the murder of 51 year old Anita Downey at his Toberhewny Hall home in Lurgan on 20 January last year. 

At a sentencing hearing at Belfast Crown Court earlier today, Lyness was told he will serve a minimum of 18 years in jail, before being considered for release.

Detective Inspector David McGrory said he welcomed the sentence considering the brutality of the crime.

He said: “Anita Downey, a loving mother of three, endured a terrifying death at the hands of Lyness. He brutally beat her during a sustained attack that culminated in him getting a kitchen knife and deliberately and savagely cutting her throat, ultimately causing her death.

“Lyness’ callousness and cruelty continued beyond the savage murder as he repeatedly denied his guilt despite the overwhelming and compelling evidence against him, putting the Downey family through the trauma of a three week trial, together with forcing his own son to take the stand to give evidence.”

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The trial judge Geoffrey Miller QC paid tribute to the dignity displayed by the Downey family, something which was echoed by the PSNI.

McGrory added: “I would pay particular tribute to David Lyness’ son for his bravery and unwavering commitment to seeing justice done for Anita.

“Whilst nothing can ever make up for their devastating loss, we hope that the lengthy sentence given to David Lyness offers some measure of comfort and closure to the Downey family.”

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