A 34-year-old man has been found guilty by a jury of the “brutal and barbaric” murder of Eddie Meenan, the father of Derry’s nine children.
The seven-week trial finally ended when the jury – who spent less than ten hours deliberating – returned a guilty verdict against Sean Ciaran Joseph Rodger, with no permanent residence.
Despite his claims that he was acting in self-defence and had no intention of killing Mr. Meenan, Rodgers was found guilty by a unanimous decision of murdering the 52-year-old man.
A second man, 22-year-old Ryan Walters, from Station Road in Crossgar, was not found guilty of murder, but agreed to be guilty of the manslaughter of Mr. Meenan.
The deceased and friend Billy McConnell arrived behind a property in the Creggan Road area of Derry in the early morning hours of November 25, 2018.
Three people in the compound saw two masked men at the back door and a confrontation broke out in the back garden.
While Mr McConnell was attacked with a baton but tried to flee the scene, Mr Meenan was beaten in an attack deemed “brutal and barbaric” by the Crown.
After being beaten and stabbed more than 50 times, Mr Meenan was then stripped of his clothes and dumped in an alley at the back of Creggan Road.
Rodgers, Walters and a third man – Derek William Creswell (29) of Kings Lane in Ballykelly – were all arrested following the murders.
While all three accepted to be at the property when the murder attack was committed, they all initially denied being involved.
A trial at Derry Crown Court, in Belfast, began in late January with all three defendants appearing for murder.
The trio also denied injuring Mr Meenan’s friend William McConnell, while Creswell and Walters denied violating due process by burning evidence including blood-stained clothing after the murder – an allegation. forced to admit Rodgers.
During the third week of the hearing, Creswell attorney Gavan Duffy QC asked for his client to be rearranged and he pleaded guilty to all three charges.
As the trial progressed, both Rodgers and Walters went to the witness counter with each man providing a statement of what happened to the jury.
Rodgers testified that after seeing masked men at the back door and fearing it was the IRA, he launched a counterattack.
The defendant said he attacked Mr Meenan with his feet and fists, denied using a weapon and denied stabbing the deceased. Rodgers also denied involvement in the McConnell attack.
Today, when the jury director was asked by the court clerk if they had made a decision on the murder charge against Rodgers that they all agreed, he replied that they had and returned the copy. ‘guilty’ sentence.
He was acquitted of injuring Mr McConnell.
Walters also gave evidence and stated that while attacking Mr McConnell he did not play any role in the fatal attack on Mr Meenan and vehemently denied using a knife.
The foreman was then asked if they had reached a unanimous verdict on the murder charge against Walters.
After answering “yes”, the foreman continued “not guilty of murder, guilty of manslaughter.” Walters was also found guilty of violating the law of justice and injuring Mr McConnell.
Before the jury passed their verdict, Judge Donna McColgan QC said that while she appreciated it was “very emotional for everyone”, she asked for “maximum decor” in the courtroom. his judgment.
After returning their sentences, the Judge thanked the jury for presiding over a “difficult and difficult case” and exempted them from jury service for life.
She told the remaining ten members: “You’re probably one of the most attentive juries I’ve ever met in my career at the Bar or on the bench.”
Turning to the two defendants, Judge McColgan told Rodgers to stand and said, “You’ve been convicted of murder by a jury. The only sentence I can apply is life in prison.”
She informed Rodgers that “the next stage for you will be the Tariffs hearing,” but told him that when he and his legal team split during the trial, he will need an attorney. legal authority for this.
After handing down a life sentence to Creswell – who is currently being held at Maghaberry – Judge McColgan said she would review the case on March 23.
She expressed hope that by that stage Rodgers would secure legal representation and said she would set a date for the tariffs hearings and sentencing for Walters on March 23.
The fourth defendant – Sinead Martina White from St Brecans Park in Derry – admitted to the charge of withholding information related to the murder
A cousin of the deceased, the 38-year-old lived on the property where Mr. Meenan was murdered. Last November, she admitted to failing to provide police with information about what happened at her home and will be sentenced along with three of her accomplices.
As Rodgers was led off the dock and taken into custody, the Meenan family – who attended the trial daily – clapped their hands. The convicted murderer responded by spinning and offering them his finger.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/man-found-guilty-of-brutal-and-savage-murder-of-father-of-nine-eddie-meenan-41450292.html Man Convicted of Killing Father of 9 Children Eddie Meenan