Murderer of Co. Armagh tot has 'unduly lenient' sentence increased on appeal

Murderer of Co. Armagh tot has 'unduly lenient' sentence increased on appeal

A MAN who admitted to the murder of his girlfriend's 11-month-old son has had his sentence increased following an appeal from the Public Prosecution Service in Northern Ireland.

Sharyar Ali, formerly of Westenra Terrace, Monaghan town, was sentenced in October 2022 to a life sentence with a minimum term of 13 years for the murder of Hunter McGleenon.

However, the sentence has now been quashed and replaced with an increased tariff of 16 years by the Court of Appeal, who described the original sentence as 'unduly lenient'.

Casino visit

Hunter died on November 26, 2019 as a result of injuries inflicted by Ali while the baby's mother, Nicole McGleenon, was visiting a sick relative.

The evening before the tot's death, Ali had spent almost two-and-a-half hours in a casino in Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan, leaving Hunter alone outside in the car.

He then brought the child home to Keady, Co. Armagh, which is when he inflicted the injuries.

Sharyar Ali left Hunter alone outside in a car for almost two-and-a-half hours while he went into a casino (Image: PSNI)

Ali said that he found Hunter unresponsive having fallen off the sofa and had slapped and shaken him as part of a resuscitation attempt.

Medical evidence described the child as having suffered a range of significant injuries, including haemorrhages which were typical of severe trauma to the head, rib fractures and bruising.

Ali later pleaded guilty to murder following a hearing in which the judge indicated he would impose a tariff of 13 years.

Mitigating factors overestimated

However, the Court of Appeal felt due consideration was not given to either Ali's failure to give an account of how Hunter obtained his injuries or his failure to seek medical assistance.

He had claimed Hunter became distressed after falling off a sofa at 6am but did not bring him to where his mother was staying until 10.30am, at which stage Hunter had likely passed away.

They also felt mitigating factors had been overestimated and the starting point for sentencing before Ali's plea should have been higher.

"On our analysis the aggravation manifestly outweighed the mitigation in this case and so the trial judge's starting point of 16 years was clearly wrong," read the court's ruling.

"Therefore, after careful consideration, we consider that the sentence in this case falls outside the range of sentences which the judge, applying his mind to all the relevant factors, could reasonably consider appropriate.

"It is therefore not simply lenient but an unduly lenient sentence.

"In a case such as this the starting point should have risen prior to reduction for the plea from the 16 years to 20 years."

It added: "We conclude this judgment by recognising the great loss Ms McGleenon and her family have suffered because of the murder of Hunter.

"No sentence will change that."