PPS statement following sentencing in Donald Fraser-Rennie murder case

Publication date:

Two men who murdered Donald Fraser-Rennie were sentenced today at Belfast Crown Court.

Steven Hunter (32) and Samuel Atcheson (36) both pleaded guilty to the murder of 33-year-old Donald Fraser-Rennie, who was brutally attacked in Ballymena in September 2020.  Steven Hunter was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment and Samuel Atcheson was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment.

PPS Senior Public Prosecutor Mairead Lavery said: “This was a cowardly, violent and unprovoked attack on Donald Fraser-Rennie who was vulnerable at the time. The defendants inflicted multiple injuries on the deceased consistent with a sustained assault, part of which they videoed.

“Following the attack, the defendants left the scene and tried to conceal and destroy evidence including burning clothing that they had been wearing. When interviewed by police both defendants tried to blame the other.

“The prosecution team in the PPS’s Serious Crime Unit worked closely with the PSNI to build a robust prosecution case, including recovering mobile phone footage and records, CCTV and forensic evidence, resulting in guilty pleas. We would also like to thank all civilian witnesses who made statements that assisted the investigation.

“Whilst these guilty pleas have saved Donald’s family the ordeal of a trial, the family have lost a loving fiancé and father due to the cowardly acts of Steven Hunter and Samuel Atcheson.

“This was a shocking attack on a defenceless man and while nothing can bring Donald back, we hope the conclusion of this case can bring some comfort to his loved ones.”