Family’s ‘relief’ as killer goes back to jail

The late Jim Gilchrist pictured during happier times with his wife Eileen.
The late Jim Gilchrist pictured during happier times with his wife Eileen.

The heartbroken widow of Derry musician Jim Gilchrist has said she feels “relieved” that one of the men involved in his killing has been put back behind bars.

Eileen Gilchrist spoke out after Daniel Young, who was convicted of the manslaughter of her late husband, was ordered back to prison on Friday after breaching the terms of his probation.

Young, 26, was sentenced in June 2008 for ten years and two years probation for the manslaughter of Jim Gilchrist in September 2005. He was released on 7 July 2012.

“For my family, this is great news. My husband should be here with us today, but we’ll never get him back. We don’t feel the sentence handed down to Daniel Young was ever enough, and this just proves that he should not have been released from prison as quickly as he was.”

Mrs. Gilchrist said Young had never shown any remorse for his part in the killing of her husband, who was beaten to death in 2005 before his body was dumped in the River Foyle.

“The whole time during the trial he (Young) never looked as if he cared about what he’d done. There was just no feeling there at all. My husband was killed in cold blood and my grandchildren will never get to see their grandfather again. It’s a life sentence for us. It breaks my heart when the children tell me that their grandad is in heaven. He should be here with them. I feel that people like Daniel Young shouldn’t be allowed on the street. I actually saw him after he got out, and he was able to just walk around as if nothing had happened,” she said.

Eileen Gilchrist said she couldn’t believe that Daniel Young had even returned to the city after being released.

“The fact that he had the cheek to come back to Derry after what he did says it all,” she said.

Jim Gilchrist’s son Martin, described the sentence handed down to Young for the manslaughter of his father as “a travesty of justice,”

“There’s no doubt he should have been put away for longer and the fact that he’s been sent back to prison shows that he should never have been released in the first place,” he said.

“I’ve seen people sent to jail for longer periods of time for doing lesser things and I honestly believe the sentences handed down in Northern Ireland are not tough enough. It almost becomes a culture for people like this to be in and out of prison and it has little or no impact, yet we’re suffering the impact of having lost our father every day of our lives. Our entire family have been devastated by this. I think it’s about time we had a justice system that cares about the victims. I live in England but every time I come home I can see that my mother is still so grief stricken by it all. It is, however, some small relief to know that she doesn’t run the risk of running into this guy (Young) on the street in the near future.

Jim Gilchrist’s daughter Catherine described the decision to send Daniel Young back to prison as “great news.”

“He has never shown one bit of remorse for what he did to our dad,” said Catherine.

“Because of what we all feel was a very lenient sentence we always had that fear that we might run into him in the street. Now we know that won’t happen in the near future.”

Catherine said her family were “trying every day” to get on with their lives.

“Nothing will bring daddy back but we’re determined not to let the people who took him away from us drag us down. It seems they’re busy dragging themselves down anyway. Rehabilitation plays a very important part in society, but you have to wonder if it can have any effect on someone who doesn’t seem the slightest bit sorry for taking a father and grandfather away from his family forever.”

See page 5 for more.