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Last Updated: Friday, 3 February 2006, 15:47 GMT
'Savage' sword killer gets life
Bungalow where the man's body was found
The bungalow where Mr Cooke's body was found
A Belfast man has been jailed for life at Craigavon Crown Court after pleading guilty to murdering an acquaintance with a Samurai-style sword.

Stephen Henry, 29, from Mountpottinger Road, was jailed for 13 years for the attack on father-of-two John Cooke, 33, in a house in Lisburn in May 2004.

The judge said Henry had "behaved like a savage" who had attacked his victim "as he begged for his life".

Speaking outside court, a family friend said the sentence was too lenient.

Family friend Peter McCormick said Mr Cooke had been "butchered beyond all recognition".

"He should have got a much bigger sentence - the family are not happy and they will never be happy," he added.

Mr Cooke had been drinking and taking drugs with Henry before the attack.

Car crash

The court heard police had been responding to reports of a car crash on the Hillhall Road in Lisburn.

It transpired the crash involved Henry and his girlfriend, Margaret Lundy.

When the police arrived at the scene Miss Lundy, who appeared distressed, directed them to Mr Cooke's house at Church Lane where they found his body.

He was covered in blood and had multiple sword injuries, including one which had almost severed his left arm.

It is understood the attack had taken place after a row had broken out when Henry went to leave and demanded that Miss Lundy go with him.

Miss Lundy did not see the fight begin but came back in to the house to see Henry repeatedly slashing at Mr Cooke with a sword.

She begged him to stop before fleeing, Henry then emerged from the house covered in blood and carrying the sword.

He drove away taking Miss Lundy with him before colliding with another car some distance away.

Henry fled but gave himself up to the police the following day.

Mr Cooke's family said the judge's ruling that Henry should serve at least 13 years of his life sentence before being considered for release did not go far enough.

Henry was led away on Friday amid shouts of "murderer" and "I hope you die in jail" by members of Mr Cooke's family.

Killing suspect still held
19 May 04 |  Northern Ireland
Man arrested over killing
18 May 04 |  Northern Ireland


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