Newtownards man sentenced to 12 years for murder of man from Coleraine

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A 37 year old Newtownards man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison at Belfast Crown Court today for the murder of Coleraine man, Mark Lamont, following an assault at an address in the Ballycastle Road area of the town in the early hours of 26 September 2016.

Mark Lamont, from Captain Street Lower in Coleraine was aged 54 when he died in hospital from his injuries two weeks later, on 11 October.

Richard Dalzell from Whinpark Road in Newtownards pleaded guilty to the murder of Mr Lamont shortly before the commencement of the trial.

The results of a post mortem showed that the main injury sustained by Mark Lamont was a head injury described as, ‘bruising and oedema of brain associated with a depressed fracture of the skull.’

Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell, from the PSNI’s Major Investigation Team, said: “We welcome today’s sentence and we know that despite their grief, Mark Lamont’s family has also accepted it.

“The 12 years imposed today is the minimum term Dalzell must serve before he can become eligible to have his case referred to the Parole Commissioners for consideration as to whether he can be released on licence.

“This was a vicious attack and despite first claiming that it was self-defence, Richard Dalzell eventually admitted that his assault on Mark Lamont went well beyond that.

“On Saturday 25 September 2016, Mr Dalzell was in the company of a woman at a Coleraine bar from around 12 noon until 11.30pm. While they were there, they were both involved in verbal exchanges with three men – one of whom was the deceased, Mark Lamont.

“Both were very drunk when they left the bar. CCTV evidence showed them arguing as they returned to the woman’s house on the Ballycastle Road in the town. The three men came into the house through an unlocked door wearing hooded tops and obscuring their faces.

“A minor physical and verbal altercation between Mr Dalzell and these men followed. The men parted company outside but Mr Lamont returned alone and got into a fight with the defendant.

“Richard Dalzell was seen punching Mark Lamont on the footpath outside the house and Mark Lamont falling to the ground. Another witness said how she saw a well-built male jumping on Mark Lamont’s head. The victim was taken to hospital, but died 15 days later.

“Several members of Mr Lamont’s family have shared how his death has affected them – from Mark’s 35 year old son Karl, who has ‘disturbing recollections’ of his father’s last days to his teenage son who was studying for exams when his father was murdered.

“Mark’s partner Brenda – and the mother of his 4 year old son - has said revealed how hard it was to watch as he lay in hospital in the days before he died.

“She says: ‘the memory of him lying there in a lifeless state haunts me every night when I try to sleep’.”