When justice fails

A MOTHER has been left distraught after the two men who tortured and killed her grown-up son were convicted of manslaughter and not murder.

After agreeing a plea bargain, Dubliners Wayne Lennon, 38, and Brian McConville, 30, admitted punching, kicking and stabbing Paul Fether, 31, to death.

They were sentenced to 11 years each by a Malaga court, not the life sentences that his mother Beryl Fether, 67, felt they deserved.

Beryl came to Spain in mid-April, not for a holiday, but to find answers and justice for her son who was “brutally tortured and killed” at the hands of his ‘friends’ in the apartment he shared with his girlfriend in Benalmadena on April 21, 2010.

The coroner’s report showed that Paul, who moved to Spain from Ongar in Essex, UK, died over a period of one-and-a-half hours as a result of beatings combined with 44 stab wounds caused by various implements.

Clutching a photograph of her dead son in one hand and a folder full of court paperwork in the other, quietly-spoken Beryl (pictured) explained her frustration over the court trial that never was.

“If it was in England, they would have got life for murder,” she said.

“I was told to expect a five-day trial, where witnesses would testify and all the evidence would come out against them. But on the first day in court, they were told to apologise and they would get a reduced sentence for manslaughter instead of murder. It’s not fair. It’s not justice!”

Beryl made it her mission to find out as much as she could from Paul’s old friends and colleagues. She had been kept in the dark for five years being told nothing by the Spanish authorities, and little more by the Foreign Office.

She said: “Apparently, the two guys were mates of his, and went over to his flat at 6am that morning after being in 24 Hour Square all night. It was normal for them to call for Paul to go for breakfast.

“That’s when it all happened. At 7.30am a phone call was made to one of Paul’s friends by the chief witness, Paul’s girlfriend, who was tied up and held in the flat along with him while the assault took place. The call told them that Paul had been killed.

“Why was she not made to testify?” asked Beryl. “She made three separate statements to the police telling them exactly what happened, then she was moved to a witness protection programme. She told them things that would have proved it was murder.”

Beryl continued: “In England she would have been made to testify, even if only by video link, but because she wasn’t here the judge wouldn’t try them for murder, so they were convicted of manslaughter instead. It’s not fair. Paul was no angel, but he didn’t deserve to die, and he deserved justice.”

With tears in her eyes she told me: “I just want to know if he was happy living here before he died. If I knew he was happy, I could be content with that.”

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