Video of 'actively psychotic' killer lurking around properties

A chilling video has emerged of the time leading up to the killing of Michael and Marjorie Cawdery - the elderly couple stabbed to death in their Portadown home last year.

The video shows the couple's killer - Thomas Scott McEntee - entering a car and attempting to enter a property in the area before being seen off by a neighbour and his dog.

MIchael Scott McEntee.

MIchael Scott McEntee.

The 41-year old killer - who is originally from Moorfield Court in Kilkeel - last month admitted killing the couple and was sentenced to a minimum of ten years in prison.

He was originally charged with murdering Michael and Marjorie Cawdery last May but admitted to their manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The couple, who were both 83, died in their Upper Ramone Park home in Portadown on May 26 last year.

The family have said the 10-year sentence handed to the killer was “totally inadequate”.McEntee used six knifes to kill the pensioners.

The family of Michael and Marjorie Cawdery.

The family of Michael and Marjorie Cawdery.

He was handed a life sentence earlier this month and was told he will serve a minimum of 10 years in prison for the double killing.

Speaking outside Belfast Crown Court after the hearing, Mr and Mrs Cawdery’s son-in-law Charles Little said that while the family welcomed the life sentence, they were extremely unhappy with the minimum tariff.

He said: “This was two lives of two really good people brutally and savagely taken, and that is just not acceptable. “It looks like five years a life as a minimum, and that is just not justice as far as we are concerned.”

McEntee – who at the time was living at a hostel in Kilkeel – has since been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He admitted two counts of manslaughter on the ground of diminished responsibility.

Marjorie and Michael Cawdery.

Marjorie and Michael Cawdery.

Mr Justice Colton said that while he accepted McEntee was in an “extremely disturbed mental state” and was “actively psychotic” when he carried out the knife attack, he told the court “it must be remembered that we are dealing here with a double killing”.

The Cawdery family attended the sentencing at Belfast Crown Court, where they heard the judge describe the fatal knife attack on the elderly couple as “gratuitous”.

In his sentencing remarks, the judge spoke of the effect the “tragic and traumatic” death has had on the family circle.

Also noted by the judge was McEntee’s behaviour in the run-up to the double killing on May 26 last year, which included him being found naked in the grounds of Daisy Hill Hospital, being taken by ambulance to Craigavon Area Hospital, and leaving before a full assessment had taken place.


Hours later, he broke into Mr and Mrs Cawdery’s home and killed them using six knifes.


In the aftermath of the double killing, he dressed in Mr Cawdery’s clothes and stole their car which he then crashed into two other vehicles.


McEntee was arrested later that day standing in a field surrounded by cattle.


Mr Justice Colton noted that McEntee had a “horrific upbringing” which included a history of hospital admissions, alcoholism, and non-engagement with mental health services.


He also revealed to the court that when discussing the deaths of Mr and Mrs Cawdery with the Probation Service, McEntee was “calm and unemotional” – but recognised the grief and distress he caused.


McEntee – who has been housed at the secure Shannon Unit in Knockbracken in Belfast for several months – was told he will serve a minimum of 10 years in prison for the manslaughter of the couple.


The Cawderys’ son-in-law Mr Little has called for an inquest into the double killing, accusing the Southern Trust of failing both McEntee, and in turn Mr and Mrs Cawdery.


He said: “Mike and Majorie were wonderful people.


“They were very much loved by the family, by all who knew them.


“Their lives were of great value.


“The judge quite rightly has imposed a life sentence and we welcome that – but we do think that the minimum tariff of 10 years is totally inadequate.


“Having said all that, we are very much aware that Thomas McEntee was ill, and that had to be taken into consideration.


“He went for help on numerous occasions to the various health trusts, and in particular the Southern Trust. He did not receive the help he wanted ... and Mike and Marjorie paid for it with their lives.”


Mr Little added: “There are questions that now must be answered, and we need an inquest.


“I call on the coroner to organise an inquest as soon as possible ... because as far as the family is concerned, [the deaths] were avoidable.”


Also speaking after the sentencing was Shane Devlin, chief executive of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust.


Extending his sympathies to the Cawdery family, Mr Devlin continued: “We as a Trust will look at what we need to do to understand whether there were opportunities that could have been taken which may have had an impact on the tragic events of that day.


“What is clear is that there was no assessment tool that could have predicted that Mr McEntee would have gone on to carry out the horrific events that were carried out.”


The Trust Chief Executive added that reviews have taken place, and he continued: “We want to work with the Cawdery family to really understand what opportunities were potentially missed and what we can learn from this horrific situation.”