'Savage' murderer admits burglary of address in Templepatrick

'Savage' murderer admits burglary of address in Templepatrick

A MAN who murdered a man with a degree of savagery a judge said he had never encountered in court before has now been sentenced to a six months prison term for stealing a DKNY watch in a burglary in Templepatrick.

Joseph Graham (51), of Woodvale Street in Belfast, had broken into Temple Rise in February 26 this year and when a witness saw him at a bus stop police then found the defendant was in possession of an offensive weapon - a hammer - when they stopped a bus going into Belfast.

The defendant appeared via video link from Maghaberry Prison and it was heard his life sentence release licence had been revoked.

Antrim Magistrates' Court, sitting in Ballymena (main picture), was told the defendant is due back before parole commissioners on July 29 to see if, according to a defence lawyer, he is "safe to be released".

The court heard in 2000 the defendant was convicted, at Swansea Crown Court, of murder and served 16 years in prison.

The court was told he had been working since being released; married in 2018; had a young child and had been and had been "free of crime".

A defence lawyer said the Templepatrick incident "seems to have been very much an aberration in terms of the new Mr Graham".

Jailing the defendant, District Judge Nigel Broderick said the defendant had a poor record and "burglary is always a serious offence".

A BBC report in 2000 said Graham had been jailed for life for murder after beating his victim so badly he was unrecognisable.

A judge at Swansea Crown Court described the stabbing, in December 1999, as the "most savage attack" he had ever had to deal with.

Graham, originally from Northern Ireland, had admitted killing 37-year-old Keith Booth at his west Wales home but denied murdering him.

The court heard that Mr Booth had invited Graham back to his home in Sketty, near Swansea, for a drink, and within an hour was left for dead in a pool of blood on his living room floor.

Graham had drunk 20 bottles of lager before killing Mr Booth and could not remember why he had carried out the attack, counsel said.

Mr Booth had been so badly beaten that he was unrecognisable.

He had been stabbed in the face and body 16 times and suffered multiple fractures to the skull and ribs.

A pathologist also found numerous fractures the face, jaw and forehead, plus 20 fractures to the ribs, the court heard.

Police discovered weapons used including a broken glass ashtray, a dining fork, a kitchen knife and the leg of a wooden stool, nearby.

The court heard that Graham, who left the scene covered in blood to search for more drink, admitted killing Mr Booth in the early hours of December 1, 1999, but denied murder.

The jury at Swansea Crown Court convicted Graham unanimously on what Mr Justice Wright called "overwhelming evidence".

He said Graham, then with an address given as Queen's Gardens in Newtownabbey, had attacked Mr Booth with a degree of savagery that he had never encountered in a criminal court before.