Inayay Shay
Inayay Shay

Michael Lenaghan appeared before Belfast Crown Court today, 8 March 2024, for the murder of Inayat Shah.

Mr Shah, who was the owner of a guesthouse in Ballymena, was stabbed nearby his property on 21 March 2020. The 67-year-old was stabbed multiple times.

Fifty-five-year-old Lenaghan was handed a life sentence last November, after pleading guilty to murder.  Today, he was told he will serve a minimum of 20 years in prison.

He was also sentenced for threats to kill a second victim and for the offence of wounding a third victim. All will be served concurrently.

Detective Inspector Jennifer Rea said: “Police and colleagues from the Ambulance Service attended this tragic scene on the afternoon of Saturday 21 March 2020.  Here, officers found Mr Inayat Shah lying in an alleyway close to his guesthouse. He had been stabbed approximately 55 times and, sadly, died at the scene.

“Michael Lenaghan’s actions were horrific and savage. This was an unprovoked attack, and one which took the life of an innocent man.”

Detective Inspector Rea continued: “Two other men, both of whom were staying at the nearby property, were also subjected to a terrifying ordeal. Earlier, Lenaghan had brandished a knife while threatening to kill one resident.  This victim was, thankfully, physically unharmed.  The second man, however, sustained a stab wound to the chest and when Mr Shah sought to help him, he himself was attacked by the defendant.

“Michael Lenaghan identified himself to police at the scene, and was arrested in relation to all three incidents.”

She continued: “Mr Shah was a much-loved husband, father and grandfather. The family are keen to acknowledge, and express their gratitude for, the efforts of those police officers and members of the Ambulance Service, who attended this distressing scene and who tried so hard to save his life.

“That terrible day, and the months and years that have followed, have been sheer torment for this loving family.  No one should ever have to experience such horror and loss.  I hope that today’s sentencing will bring some closure, but I know their worlds have been turned upside-down and their hearts remain broken.  My thoughts are with them.”


Inayat Shah