Ballymena B&B owner Inayat Shah's murder recorded in 'chilling' 999 call

A Ballymena bed and breakfast manager was fatally stabbed in March 2020 while he was on the phone with the PSNI reporting another stabbing, a court heard today.

Inayat Shah ran the Traveller's Rest on the Galgorm Road in the Co Antrim town.

He was stabbed 55 times in his business in on March 21st 2020.

Michael Lenaghan, with an address at Galgorm Road, initially denied murdering the 67-year old, but then pleaded guilty before the case went to trial.

Family members were in attendance at Belfast Crown Court as the gruesome details of what happened to their "kind and charitable" relative were revealed.

During the plea hearing, it emerged that prior to killing Mr Shah, Lenaghan had attacked another resident with a knife and made a death threat to another guest.

Judge Patricia Smyth was told that Mr Shah was in the process of reporting this to emergency services when he was approached by Lenaghan, who was still armed with a knife.

An eye witness reported seeing Lenaghan gesturing and shouting aggressively, being taken to the ground, and being struck repeatedly by him.

Mr Magee KC, prosecuting, said that the "chilling and devastating attack" was recorded on the call.

He said: "Mr Shah pleaded with the defendant and offered to give him money but the defendant shouted at him saying 'you're dead, you're dead, talking to the police about me, you're dead, you're dead', you're dead."

"The screams and groans of Mr Shah fell silent, shortly before the defendant walked away from the mutilated and lifeless body."

The other wounded man ran back to the B&B shouting 'the old man has been stabbed' and the emergency services were called but Mr Shah was pronounced dead at the scene.

Lenaghan walked back to his accommodation and was described as "calm but out of it... like he had snapped."

Covered in blood, he told the resident he threatened earlier that day "you'll end up like Shah there, dead in the street."

A short time after this he was approached by police and said: "That thing is in the alley. I did it. It's me you're looking for."

When arrested for murder, Lenaghan asked "is he dead?" and when told this was the case, he replied "f*****g good".

He was overheard by Mr Shah's daughter shouting "happy days."

He was aggressive and abusive to officers and to custody staff at the PSNI station and during a police interview, he gave a largely 'no comment' response.

With an address as Galgorm Road in Ballymena, Lenaghan later admitted murdering Mr Shah on March 21, 2020. He also admitted wounding one fellow resident and threatening to kill another on the same date.

Branding the fatal attack on Mr Shah as "callous" and "gratuitous" and one where "wanton violence was inflicted on the victim", the prosecutor told Judge Smyth that Lenaghan had a relevant criminal record for violent offences in Northern Ireland, Scotland and England.

A defence barrister said his client suffered from an acute and complex personality disorder which resulted in loss of control.

Saying "he can't help himself ... he is what he is", the barrister said this disorder - coupled with Lenaghan's alcohol intoxication that day - played a "significant" role in what occurred.

Several of Mr Shah's loved ones provided statements which spoke of his kind, loving and charitable nature and the void he has left behind.

Judge Smyth also acknowledged the family and told them that she required further medical evidence before she would be in a position to impose the Tariff - the minimum term Lenaghan will spent in prison before he is considered eligible for release.

The Belfast Recorder said this will be imposed at a later date.

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