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Turkish national who murdered promising young Irish boxer sentenced

Orhan Koca was sentenced to life for the murder of Eamonn Magee Jr
Orhan Koca was sentenced to life for the murder of Eamonn Magee Jr
Orhan Koca
Orhan Koca

A 34-year-old Turkish national who stabbed a promising young Irish boxer to death in an attack motivated by jealousy will serve a minimum of 14 years behind bars.

Orhan Koca put in a guilty plea as his trial for the murder of Eamonn Magee Jr in west Belfast in 2015 was about to begin. 

Mr Magee, 22, had been in a relationship with Koca's estranged wife who he met at a gym where he had been working as a personal trainer. 

Mr Justice Treacy today said that Koca armed himself before going to the house in Twinbrook where he used to live with his wife before he attacked Mr Magee on May 30 of that year.

When Mr Magee stepped out of the house at around 2:30am to look for a pizza delivery man, Koca stabbed him repeatedly with what is thought to have been a large kitchen knife.  

The engineering student was rushed to hospital where he later died. 

Eamonn Magee Jr

Justice Treacy said: "I am satisfied that this was a premeditated and planned murder which was both brutal and sustained and where the intention was to take life."

Mr Magee's father, also called Eamonn, is a successful former boxer.

In a statement, the Magee family said: "We would like to express our deepest gratitude to all those in Ireland and around the world. You have shown us so much love and compassion as we struggled to deal with our loss.

"We have been astounded by the acts of kindness we have encountered in these dark times, often from the most surprising sources.

"We have been hugely comforted by how the community has come to our side.

"It is very much appreciated by all and thank you for all of your support."

Speaking after Koca's sentencing, Detective Superintendent John McVea said: “Our thoughts today are with the family of Eamonn Magee Jr. 

“They have understandably found this whole process extremely emotional and harrowing. They are still coming to terms with the loss of a beloved son and brother, whose life was cruelly cut short due to the jealous rage of Orhan Koca.

“Eamonn was a young man in the prime of his life and had a very promising future in boxing. His dreams to take his boxing career to a higher level will now never be realised and his family have been denied a future with Eamonn. He was a popular young man and had been studying engineering at Ulster University.

“On Saturday 30th May 2015 Eamonn was visiting his friend in a house that backs onto Summerhill Park in West Belfast and at approximately 2.30am he was attacked as he came out to check for a pizza delivery. 

“Koca planned the attack and had been following and monitoring Eamonn’s activities on social media. In fact he was the most searched item on the killer’s telephone and internet - on over 100 separate occasions. We also know he deleted photographs of Eamonn from his telephone on the night of the murder.

“Koca then lay in wait for Eamonn in the rear garden of his estranged wife’s house where the then carried out this unprovoked and vicious attack. The delivery of a pizza co-incidentally and tragically provided him with that opportunity. Eamonn was stabbed a number of times in the garden and later, despite best efforts to save him, sadly died as a result of his injuries. 

“This was a brutal murder and one which Orhan Koca carried out in a jealous rage.”

 After sentencing, Eamonn Magee Senior, said: "No sentence imposed will ever bring my son back."