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Saturday, 15 January, 2000, 13:20 GMT
Woman beater gets sentence increase

Teenager was so badly beaten she was almost unrecognisable Teenager was nearly beaten beyond recognition

A notorious woman beater whose three year jail sentence caused outrage in Northern Ireland has had the term increased to five years and three months.

Stephen Cahoon, 27, from Rockview Terrace in Moneymore, County Londonderry, was not in the Appeal Court in Belfast to hear the Lord Chief Justice say the original sentence was too low for the savage beating he inflicted on one of his victims.

Cahoon had admitted a string of attacks on two women - his former girl-friend Samantha Brown, the mother of his child, and Lynne McGall.

Both women were in court to hear the judges uphold the Attorney General's contention that the original sentence of three years was "unduly lenient."

Outside the court the women said they were pleased about the increase in Cahoon's sentence.

'20 years not enough'

Lynne McGall said: "Twenty years would not be long enough for him. I always felt he deserved more and he got it today. "I just wish he had got this at the start, then I would not have had to go through all this.

Samantha Brown said: "Hopefully the extra time he is in jail will help Lynne and me to get over it."

She said she was sorry Cahoon was not in court when his sentence was increased.

"When he got three years last October he smirked at us. I just wish he had been in court today and I would have smirked at him," she said.

Stephen Cahoon:Brought to court on DNA evidence Stephen Cahoon: Brought to court on DNA evidence
Cahoon's most serious offence was causing grevious bodily harm with intent which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

The case came before the Appeal Court in December when judgement was reserved.

Lynne McGall, 18, from Ballymena was so badly beaten about the face by Cahoon that she was almost unrecognisable.

In the first case of its kind in Northern Ireland, Cahoon was brought to court on DNA evidence after his chewing gum was found in Ms McGall's hair.

She could not remember what happened on the night she was beaten and left lying in a field.

But when the DNA from the gum was put into a police database, it matched Cahoon's DNA swab from an earlier assault in Cookstown, County Tyrone.

The judge called the case a "remarkable piece of scientific detection".

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See also:
07 Oct 99 |  Northern Ireland
Appeal for tougher sentence in assault case
06 Oct 99 |  Northern Ireland
Man jailed in DNA assault case
Links to other Northern Ireland stories are at the foot of the page.

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