Northern Ireland news

Man (40) pleads guilty to murder Laurence Shaw at Larne home

Laurence Shaw was found dead in a house in Larne in October 2017

A 40-year-old has pleaded guilty to the murder of a man found stabbed to death in his home in Larne.

Jackie Murray McDowell, of Laharna Avenue in the Co Antrim town, had been due to go trial in September for the murder of Laurence Shaw after denying the charge.

The body of the 56-year-old former joiner was found inside his Hillmount Gardens home in Larne's Seacourt estate on Sunday October 8 2017.

The victim, known as 'Lornie', had his throat cut.

At Belfast Crown Court yesterday, defence counsel Charles MacCreanor asked Judge David McFarland for McDowell to be re-arraigned on the murder charge.

When the charge was put to him by the clerk of the court, he replied: "Guilty.''

Prosecution counsel Jackie Orr applied for two charges of arson and perverting the course of justice "to be left on the books and not to be proceeded with without the leave of this court or the Court of Appeal''.

Judge McFarland granted the request.

Addressing the defendant, he said: "Mr McDowell, you have pleaded guilty to murder and the only sentence open to this court is one of life imprisonment and I am imposing that sentence now.''

Judge McFarland fixed a tariff hearing for July 2 when a probation report and victim impact statements will made available to the court.

"That means that on that date I will set the minimum period of the life sentence you will have to serve before you will be eligible to apply for parole,'' said the Belfast Recorder.

"It will ultimately then be up to the Parole Commissioners to decide if you are released and if any conditions will be imposed.''

Remanding him back into custody until then, Judge McFarland told prison staff: "Take him down.''

As he was being led away from the court, there was a shout of "Coward" from the public gallery.

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