Jury asked to determine whether Belfast man caused nephew's death

Laganside courthouse in Belfast

A TRIAL got under way at Belfast Crown Court yesterday where a jury is being asked to determine whether or not a north Belfast man caused the death of his nephew.

George Morrison was stabbed to death in an alleyway in the Antrim Road area of the city in the early hours of July 6, 2009.

He sustained several knife wounds in the fatal attack - one of which penetrated his heart - and an attempt was made to cut his throat.

It is the Crown's case that the deceased's uncle Samuel Francis Morrison - who was seen bare-chested and carrying a large knife at the time and in the area where the stabbing occurred - caused his death.

The jury heard that a resident who was awoken from his sleep by a commotion outside his house heard someone shout "Geordie, Geordie, you are going to get it. You are a paedophile."

The accused, who is 55 and from Forthriver Park in Belfast, was initially charged with murder. However, it has since been determined that he has a disability, has been deemed unfit and therefore unable to plead to the charge or participate in the proceedings.

The trial which opened yesterday is to 'determine the facts' and the accused Morrison watched the hearing via a live video link from Maghaberry Prison.

Opening the Crown case against Samuel Morrison, senior prosecuting barrister Terence Mooney QC told the jury that police and ambulance were called to north Belfast where George Morrison was found with stab wounds at the junction of Brookhill Avenue and Allworthy Avenue in July 2009.

Mr Mooney told the court and jury that a post mortem concluded that the deep wound to the heart would have produced rapid blood loss rapidly causing death.

The lawyer told how residents at the scene gave eyewitness accounts of what they had seen.

One couple who were in their kitchen heard shouting from the outside alleyway, and called an ambulance after seeing a man staggering then collapsing.

Another man was woken from his sleep by shouting outside his house. He heard breaking glass and after looking out of his window he saw a bare-chested man walking down the street wearing white tracksuit bottoms and carrying a knife in his right hand.

Mr Mooney told the jury "that man, we say, was Samuel Morrison."

The jury also heard that as this bare-chested man walked down the street, he was joined by a second man carrying a box of Harp lager.

Revealing this man was the defendant's brother, Mr Mooney said CCTV from the area was later viewed by police and captured the pair "retreat from the area in which Samuel Morrison stabbed George Morrison to death a very short time beforehand."

Officers attended Samuel Morrison's flat. They had to force entry after an "impromptu barricade" was made, but once inside, they arrested the accused on suspicion of murder.

Also seized were a pair of white tracksuit bottoms which were stained with the dead man's blood.

When told he was being arrested on suspicion of murdering his nephew, the accused told police: "He was given every opportunity to leave the country and he never listened to me. Sex offender. Bastard."

The trial continues.

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