Axe murder youth convicted on his 15th birthday

A Londonderry teenager has been convicted of hacking a father-of-three to death with an axe on his 15th birthday.

Martin Stokes (16) is set to be handed a life sentence for his role in a horrific attack on John Mongan who was butchered in his own bedroom in front of his heavily pregnant wife.

The youth, from the Old Fort in Derry, appeared at Belfast Crown Court yesterday where he was convicted of Mr Mongan’s murder by a jury’s majority verdict of 10 to two.

The verdict came a day after the teen’s two uncles were unanimously found guilty by the same jury of hacking 30-year-old Mr Mongan to death in his Fallswater Street home in west Belfast in the early hours of February 7 last year.

Mr Mongan suffered up to 40 wounds in the savage attack which a pathologist told the jury would have caused “torrential bleeding”. The expert witness said that even after the victim was dead the three killers continued to land blows on his legs and body with weapons such as an axe, a sword or machete.

Brothers Christopher Stokes (38) and Edward Stokes (34), found guilty of Mr Mongan’s murder on Tuesday, heckled the victim’s family sitting in court after their nephew was convicted yesterday. All three were also found guilty of causing criminal damage to Mr Mongan’s Mitsubushi 4x4, while Edward Stokes was convicted of wounding the victim’s wife Julia Mongan with intent.

Trial judge Mr Justice Treacy lifted reporting restrictions on identifying Martin Stokes, whose name was not published throughout the long-running trial.

It can now be revealed that the teenager murdered the father-of-three on his 15th birthday.

As the three killers were led to the cells yesterday Edward Stokes gave a two-fingered gesture to the Mongan family, sitting just feet away, similar to what his brother did on Tuesday after he was convicted. When he was led to the cells handcuffed to a prison guard, Christopher Stokes gestured to the cheering Mongan family and told them: “I'll do me time but he (Mr Mongan) will never be back.”

Mr Justice Treacy told the trio there was only one sentence permitted by law and that was “one of life imprisonment”.

Outside the court family and friends of the murdered man held his picture aloft while his wife Julia said “justice has been done”.

“It will never bring him back but at least I can rear his children to make him proud,” Mrs Mongan said.

All three killers were remanded into custody and will be sentenced next month when probation reports have been completed.

* Source: The Belfast Telegraph

Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
world cup 2014
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice