Northern Ireland

Andrew Lorimer's killers plead guilty to manslaughter

Andrew Lorimer was found dead in his flat in Lurgan
Image caption Andrew Lorimer's battered body was found in his flat in Lurgan, County Armagh

Three men have pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of a man who was beaten to death in a suspected homophobic attack in County Armagh.

Andrew Lorimer was found dead by a burglar who, coincidentally, had broken into his Lurgan flat in February 2012.

Christopher Wright, Richard Chester and James Jordan had been due to go on trial for Mr Lorimer's murder.

But in a Belfast court on Tuesday, all three denied murder but admitted the lesser charge of manslaughter.

The 43-year-old's battered body was discovered by the burglar at the property in Portlec Place in the town.

A previous court hearing was told evidence suggested Mr Lorimer had been kicked and beaten with a hammer in a suspected homophobic attack and also that he would have remained alive for a number of hours after the fatal attack.

During Tuesday's hearing at Craigavon Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, a senior defence lawyer asked for the murder charge to be put to the three accused again, and all three said were "not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter".

A prosecution barrister told the judge that having reviewed the evidence and consulted with the director of the Public Prosecution Service, he had been instructed to accept the pleas to the lesser offence.

Following the hearing, 22-year-old Wright from Mount Zion House, Lurgan, 20-year-old Jordan from Princes Street in the town, and Chester, 23, of no fixed abode, were remanded back into custody.

The judge adjourned passing sentence until November, when pre-sentence probation reports have been compiled.

More on this story