Northern Ireland news

Christopher Meli killing one of the most brutal in recent times

Christopher Meli was killed in December 2015

CHRISTOPHER Meli was beaten to death at Doc's Lane in the Twinbrook estate in west Belfast on the evening of December 12 2015.

Police said at the time they believed up to 20 people were involved in violent confrontations that led to the 20-year-old sustaining fatal head injuries.

The killing shook the close-knit community and led to subsequent altercations.

In the weeks after the young man's death, tensions in the area ran high.

A few days after the killing, thugs attacked a disabled teenager claiming it was in revenge for the fatal assault.

It was also claimed that vigilante groups were operating in the Colin area - forcing Mr Meli's distraught parents to appeal for all attacks to stop.

Following extensive police investigations three men were later charged with murder. In total, eight people were charged with offences linked to the fatal attack.

During yesterday's hearing, in which two men admitted charges of manslaughter and one man pleaded guilty to affray, Mr Justice Colton described the case as "complex".

However, Mr Meli's parents Christopher Meli and Vanessa Burke have expressed concerns about the length of time it has taken to bring those involved to court from the night their son died.

Ms Burke said during a meeting with the Public Prosecution Service on Thursday she was shown a string of filing cabinets containing documents linked to the killing - a reflection of how involved the case is.

Two men will be sentenced next month after they pleaded guilty to manslaughter yesterday.

However, this sentencing will come four years after the killing.

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Northern Ireland news