Michael Dunlop jailed for five years for attempted grievous bodily harm of Karol Kelly in Derry

Karol Kelly was stabbed to death in Londonderry in 2018.

One of the three men convicted of his role in the murder of 35-years-old father of five Karol Kelly, who was stabbed to death in the Rosemount area of Londonderry in the early hours of 4 March 2018 has been jailed for five years.

Michael Dunlop, 20, previously of Fern Park in Derry was found not guilty by a jury in June of murdering Mr Kelly, but guilty of attempted grievous bodily harm with intent by banging the victim's head off the rear of a parked van.

Brothers Gary, 25, and Sean, 24, Anderson, who were found unanimously guilty of murdering Mr Kelly by stabbing him to death outside their Grafton Street home, are to be sentenced in February.

Their pleas of guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Kelly were rejected by the prosecution during their trial.

At Thursday's sentencing hearing for Dunlop at Coleraine Crown Court, prosecution barrister Liam McCollum KC submitted to Judge Philip Babington that the starting point for a conviction following a trial was six years.

Defence barrister Plunkett Nugent said that Dunlop, who has spent in excess of 800 days in custody following his arrest, had tried to stop the Andersons from assaulting Mr Kelly "and he withdrew immediately from that attack once he realised what was happening. He intervened to stop".

Mr Nugent said Dunlop had consistently expressed his remorse to the Kelly family.

"I repeat on behalf of the defendant his absolute regret at the death of Mr Kelly, someone he did not know, someone he had no grudge against nor antipathy towards, and he again extends his sympathies to the family of Karol Kelly," he said.

Jailing Dunlop for five years, Judge Babington said "this is a very tragic case and we must not forget Mr Kelly lost his life".

Meanwhile the Anderson brothers, who received automatic life sentences following their convictions last June, will learn their minimum terms next February.

Barrister Kieran Mallon KC, on behalf of Gary Anderson who has not been assessed as being dangerous, submitted that a starting pointy of 12 years was the appropriate sentence for his client.

"What happened was so, so, avoidable. He realises he could have handled things differently.

"He has shown considerable and genuine remorse and there is an acceptance on his behalf of culpability. He has absolutely no intention to appeal the verdict of the jury", he said.

Barrister Brian McCartney KC, for Sean Anderson, who has been assessed as dangerous, submitted that the fact his client had pleaded guilty to manslaughter in front of the jury "was a sign of contrition and remorse".

Mr McCartney said there was "a lack of pre-meditation for the spontaneous attack".

He said the background to the incidents included an invasion of the Andersons' family home which was followed by his client's over excessive response.

Both Andersons were remanded in continuing custody until they're sentenced next February.

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