Northern Ireland news

Accused Steven McBrine made 'full admissions' to double murder

Double murder accused Steven McBrine

This is the man a court was told has made "full admissions" to police investigating the murder of two friends in a knife attack two days before Christmas.

Steven McBrine allegedly killed 37-year-old Frances Murray and 47-year-old Joseph Dutton after a row flared between them.

The victims' bodies were discovered at Kinnaird Close in north Belfast on Monday afternoon.

McBrine (35), also of Kinnaird Close, appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court yesterday charged with the double murder.

Police at the scene of Monday's double murder at Kinnaird Close. Picture: Cliff Donaldson.

Entering the dock in handcuffs, he nodded to confirm that he understood the allegations against him.

No bail application was made during the brief hearing.

But defence solicitor Denis Moloney described the case as a "great tragedy" involving friends who had been drinking together.

He put it to an investigating detective: "During interview the defendant... gave a full and frank account."

The detective replied: "He made full admissions to it."

Mr Moloney told the court McBrine and the two victims were friends who lived close to each other.

"The defendant knew the parties concerned, they had been put together," he said.

"Unfortunately a dispute has arisen and two people ended up dead.

"The defendant was fully cooperative with the authorities."

Remanding McBrine in custody, District Judge George Conner confirmed he will appear again by video-link on January 23.

Police were called to Kinnaird Close after a member of the public reported the victims' bodies had been found.

Other residents in the apartment complex and nearby homes were evacuated for a time as a major operation was launched.

Detectives said they believe some sort of altercation took place in the flat where Ms Murray and Mr Dutton, a father of two, were discovered.

They are also trying to locate a bag of blood soaked clothing believed to have been discarded in the local area.

* Mr Dutton was incorrectly named Duddy in Tuesday's Irish News.

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