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'wise up ffs' Notorious killer fined and banned from driving after drink drive rampage

Murray stabbed a man to death and was involved in an incident where another man was killed

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Liam Murray Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Liam Murray Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Liam Murray Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

A notorious killer was fined just £700 despite almost killing a pedestrian during a drink-drive rampage.

Liam ‘Chuck’ Murray was also banned from driving for 18 months during a court case which has taken more than two-and-a-half years to get to court.

We reported in October 2019 how the 35-year-old, who stabbed one man to death and was also involved in an incident where another man was killed, had smashed a car he was driving through a lamppost and into another parked car.

After the incident, local MP Michelle Gildernew tweeted how a pedestrian had “a lucky escape” and she urged reckless drivers like Murray to “wise up ffs”.

A friend of one of his victims told the Sunday World: “A £700 fine for someone like him is a complete waste of time. He’s a convicted killer and he could have killed someone.

“He got into a car when he was completely plastered and nearly hit a pedestrian. He hit a lamppost so hard he knocked it down. Imagine if that had been the man he had hit – so fining him is a complete joke.

“We always thought he would kill again and it seems that’s what it will take for him to be sent to prison again for a proper length of time. The public aren’t safe with him loose on the streets.”

Murray was acquitted of the murder of popular Dungannon man Eamonn Hughes in 2008 but following a long trial at Belfast Crown Court he was convicted of affray and ordered to serve five years in jail.

When Murray was involved in that shocking attack he had just been released from jail for a sentence for the manslaughter of Lithuanian national, Giedrius Vainauskas, at Willow Gardens in Dungannon in January 2005.

This week it emerged boozed-up Murray was detained after the shocking incident by a brave member of the public, believed to be the pedestrian who was almost mown down by the deranged killer.

Dungannon Magistrates Court was told that Murray, of Drumkee Villas, Dungannon, has spent most of his adult life in prison. He was convicted of driving while unfit through drink or drugs, failing to provide an evidential specimen, driving without insurance, failing to report an accident, and driving without due care and attention. He was disqualified from driving for 18 months and fined £700.

In the early hours of October 19, 2019, police went to the scene of the crash on Quarry Lane, Dungannon.

Murray had been driving his cousin’s Ford Focus, and police noticed a strong smell of alcohol from his breath and also said his speech was slurred and his eyes glazed.

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But Murray refused to provide an evidential sample and told police it was his cousin’s car but denied he had been driving.

District Judge Michael Ranaghan noted there were “serious” offences on the defendant’s record although none was for driving matters.

Defence solicitor Paddy Mallon said the defendant was recalled to prison since the offences and spent 13 months in custody.

He added that Murray was “anxious to save time” and deal with the matters.

Mr Mallon said: “He apologises for his actions on the night. He was at his cousin’s and foolishly and dangerously took the vehicle. He accepts that. Due to injuries he received, he was easily detained.

“He has spent most of his time in custody since he was 18. He is currently on licence and abiding by the terms of that.”

Judge Sean O’Hare said Murray showed “little responsibility” taking and crashing the car and in the follow-up police investigation.

Judge O’Hare said: “He should have admitted it. It would have made little difference regarding his recall except to show he demonstrated little responsibility in the community.”

Giedrius Vainauskas (23) was found stabbed behind a house at Willow Gardens on January 16 2005. He died in hospital.

Murray was charged with the murder and was also accused of attempting to murder another Lithuanian man but denied the charges, however he was later convicted of manslaughter.

A couple of months after he was released from prison he was involved in an orgy of violence that left father-of-three Eamonn Hughes stabbed to death.

His cousin Martin Murray was convicted of the murder after stabbing Mr Hughes once in the chest when a row broke out after the victim’s daughter’s 18th birthday party.

The trial was held in Belfast in front of a judge rather than a jury and afterwards it emerged taxpayers were left to foot a legal aid bill of well over £1 million for the defence case of four of the men, including Liam Murray.

In 2012 this paper revealed how Liam Murray and his killer cousin Martin were involved in attacking three prison officers in Maghaberry.

steven.moore@sundayworld.com

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