Gaskin brothers found guilty of Seamus Holland's manslaughter

House and police vehicle The house at Upton Court where Seamus Holland was found injured shortly before his death

Two west Belfast brothers have been acquitted of murdering their uncle but convicted of his manslaughter.

The jury at Belfast Crown Court found Daniel and Gerard Gaskin guilty of Seamus Holland's manslaughter, on the basis of provocation.

Gerard Gaskin was found guilty by reason of diminished responsibility.

The brothers, from Gortnamona Way, attacked Mr Holland in revenge for alleged sexual abuse he subjected their mother to when she was a child.

Both defendants had always admitted attacking their uncle at Upton Court in the early hours of 21 November 2010.

However, they claimed they had not intended to kill Mr Holland or cause serious injury when he was kicked, punched and beaten with an iron bar.

He died in hospital later that day, after suffering a heart attack.

During their trial, the court heard the pair assaulted their uncle over claims he had abused their mother - Mr Holland's younger sister - when she was a child of around five or six-years-old and he only two years older.

'Primary cause'

The prosecution had argued the "savage" beating Mr Holland received had caused his death and that the brothers had intended to cause him really serious harm.

The jury was told a total of 19 ribs were broken, in addition to fractures to the victim's nose, arm, left shoulder blade and leg.

The 55-year-old had sustained significant bruising, extending deep into the muscle and tissues of his body.

An assistant state pathologist said while it was his view was that the assault and the injuries were the "primary cause of death", Mr Holland's severe heart condition was a "contributory factor".

Both Gaskin brothers admitted beating their uncle but claimed they never intended to kill him.

'Personality disorder'

Daniel Gaskin, 22, told the jury: "I played a part yeah (in the death) but I didn't think anybody was going to die", although he conceded he had "hatred" for the man who had allegedly abused his mother.

The court heard 31-year-old Gerard Gaskin suffered a "personality disorder and abnormality of mind that substantially impaired his mental responsibility" for attacking his uncle.

While the brothers remained impassive in the dock as the verdicts were announced, relatives of Mr Holland wept quietly in the public gallery.

The judge adjourned passing sentence until September when both pre-sentence probation reports and victim impact statements have been filed with the court.

After hearing how Daniel Gaskin and Gerard Gaskin have spent between two and three years in jail while awaiting trial, he released them both on continuing bail.

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