Northern Ireland

Belfast man accused over friend's heroin death

A man has appeared in court accused of killing a friend by injecting him with heroin in Belfast city centre.

Jeffrey Stanley, 39, was allegedly asked to administer the drug by the 46-year-old victim, a judge was told.

Mr Stanley, of Clarawood House, Clara Way, Belfast, is accused of the manslaughter of David McBratney.

Mr McBratney was found lying at Bains Place, close to Blackstaff Square on Friday night. He died at the scene a short time later.

Mr Stanley is also charged with possession of heroin and possession with intent to supply.

Belfast Magistrates Court was told Mr Stanley made certain admissions but also attempted to distance himself from the incident.

Defence solicitor Norman Shannon confirmed his client was a heroin addict who wanted to apologise to the dead man's family and express his genuine remorse.

Mr Shannon told Belfast Magistrates' Court Mr Stanley and the victim were good friends who met up near a city centre bar last Friday.

It was claimed the accused refused a request from Mr McBratney to inject him with heroin in public, instead taking him to a nearby entry.

According to Mr Stanley's account the syringe contained only a small amount of the drug.

"He said the deceased then passed out and he rang an ambulance," Mr Shannon added. "He went for a walk around the town and came back."

The lawyer also said post mortem tests were so far inconclusive, with no definitive evidence yet that his client had caused the death.

CCTV footage

However, a detective inspector involved in the investigation said the accused did not admit any involvement until he was shown CCTV footage of him walking away from the victim.

"He's gone a considerable distance before he has contacted an ambulance. He's passed many people in the street, taxis, bars, cafes and not made any attempt to summon assistance," the officer said.

The detective also disclosed that a bag containing the tourniquet and other items was still missing, with police believing Mr Stanley may try to get rid of it if released.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall adjourned the case until more details on a possible bail address can be supplied.

Mr Stanley was remanded in custody to appear again next week.