Michael Lenaghan: Man admits murdering Inayat Shah, owner of Ballymena B&B Traveller’s Rest, after stabbing him more than 50 times


Michael Lenaghan stabbed Inayat Shah over 50 times at the Traveller’s Rest

Ballymena man in court charged with murder of B&B owner Inayat Shah

A man has admitted murdering the owner of a Ballymena guesthouse where he was staying.

Michael Lenaghan stabbed Inayat Shah over 50 times at the Traveller’s Rest on Galgorm Road in the Co Antrim town in March 2020.

The 55-year-old defendant, who gave his address as Galgorm Road, initially denied murdering the 67-year-old victim and a trial was due to begin this week.

He appeared at Belfast Crown Court today where his lawyer requested that he be retried on a total of three charges.

Lenaghan stood in the dock with his head bowed and was flanked by two prison officers. A court clerk asked him to confirm his identity.

He was subsequently charged with Mr Shah’s murder on March 21, 2020, and when asked how he pleaded he replied: “Guilty.”

Lenaghan was also charged and pleaded guilty to wounding another resident of the guest house with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and threatening to kill a third man on the same day.

Crown attorney Sam Magee KC told Judge Patricia Smyth that personal statements from Mr Shah’s victim’s family will be obtained before sentencing, while defense attorney John Kearney KC said he would seek reports on Lenaghan before sentencing.

Judge Smyth then turned to Lenaghan and told him: “You have pleaded guilty to the murder of Mr Shah and in these circumstances I can only impose one sentence and that is a life sentence.”

“Now it’s up to me to set the tariff period, which is the minimum sentence you must serve before you can be considered for release by the probation officers.”

The Belfast Recorder has scheduled the tariff hearing for February 9, 2024, but said it will be a “complicated hearing” and may not set the tariff on that date.

Judge Smyth also addressed Mr Shah’s family, who were present in court via video link, and said: “I just want to say to you that I am grateful to you for sticking with this court for so long while we are in this “The necessary medical reports have been obtained in this case.”

“It has been a very lengthy process and I know the length of it has caused each of you a great deal of pain.

“I hope today’s result brings relief.”


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