Northern Ireland news

Four members of family admit charges over shotgun killing of relative at wedding

Bernard 'Barney' McGinley was shot dead outside St Mary's Church in Newtownbutler in February 2015

FOUR members of the same family, including a father and son, have admitted charges relating to the shotgun killing of a relative at a Traveller wedding three years ago.

Bernard 'Barney' McGinley was shot dead outside St Mary's Church in Newtownbutler on February 11 2015.

The 63-year old, from Co Longford, was gunned down in front of his wife and grandchildren as they attended the ceremony.

Patrick McGinley (49), from Ardlougher Road in Irvinestown, Co Fermanagh, his 29-year-old son William McGinley, from Sallyswood in Irvinestown, Patrick McGinley (24) of Lisfarrell in Edgeworthstown, Co Longford, and a youth, who cannot be named due to his age, had pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr McGinley and attempting to murder his son Bernard Oliver McGinley.

All four defendants were due to stand trial on Monday at Dungannon Crown Court, with the trial expected to last up to six weeks.

But at Belfast Crown Court today, amid tight security, defence barristers asked for the men to be re-arraigned.

Patrick McGinley (49) pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to "manslaughter''.

William McGinley pleaded not guilty to attempted murder but admitted "wounding with intent''.

Prosecution counsel Neil Connor told the court that a new charge had now been added to the indictment in respect of the two remaining defendants.

Patrick McGinley (24) and the youth, who was allowed to stand outside of the dock, both pleaded guilty to a new charge of affray.

Mr Connor told Mr Justice Adrian Colton that the guilty pleas were "acceptable to the prosecution'' and the remaining charges should be "left on the books and not to be proceeded with without the leave of the Crown Court or the Court of Appeal''.

He added that a victim impact report on Mr McGinley's widow had been completed. Mrs McGinley and other relatives were present in court.

Defence barristers said they would be producing medical reports ahead of a sentencing hearing on March 23.

Mr Justice Colton ordered pre-sentence reports on all four defendants and released them on continuing bail.

Bernard McGinley was airlifted to hospital after being shot moments before the wedding was due to start, but later died of his injuries.

He is understood to be the uncle of 49-year-old Patrick McGinley.

Police linked the shooting at the time to a feud within the Travelling community.

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