Man sentenced to minimum of 20 years for 'horrific and savage' murder of Co. Antrim guesthouse owner

Man sentenced to minimum of 20 years for 'horrific and savage' murder of Co. Antrim guesthouse owner

A MAN who murdered a Co. Antrim guesthouse owner after stabbing him more than 50 times has been told he must serve at least 20 years in prison.

Michael Lenaghan was handed the minimum term on Friday, having been sentenced to life last November after admitting to the murder of 67-year-old Inayat Shah.

"Michael Lenaghan's actions were horrific and savage. This was an unprovoked attack, and one which took the life of an innocent man," said Detective Inspector Jennifer Rea of the PSNI.

999 call

Lenaghan, 55, attacked Mr Shah outside the Travellers Rest guesthouse in Ballymena on March 21, 2020.

The killer had earlier brandished a knife and threatened to kill one fellow resident before stabbing another in the chest.

Mr Shah called 999 before following the injured man outside to help him.

Mr Shah was a much-loved husband, father and grandfather (Image: via PSNI)

Angered at the guesthouse owner for having called the police, Lenaghan pursued Mr Shah before launching his attack, which was captured on the 999 call.

When officers arrived, they found Mr Shah lying in an alleyway close to his guesthouse.

He had been stabbed around 55 times and sadly died at the scene.

'Sheer torment'

DI Rea said she hoped Friday's sentencing could give Mr Shah's family some closure after their ordeal.

"Mr Shah was a much-loved husband, father and grandfather," she said.

"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."

Lenaghan was also sentenced for threats to kill one fellow resident and for wounding another, with all three sentences to be served concurrently.