Northern Ireland

Anthony McErlaine murder: Christopher Keenan pleads guilty

Police officers at the scene n Ballycastle where Anthony McErlain's body was found Image copyright Kevin McAuley
Image caption Police started a murder inquiry after Mr McErlain's body was found in a flat in Ballycastle

A County Antrim man has pleaded guilty to the murder of a man in Ballycastle two years ago.

Christopher Keenan, 36, of Broombeg View, Ballycastle, County Antrim was given a mandatory life sentence for the murder of Anthony McErlaine, 48.

He will learn in April how long he will serve without parole.

Mr McErlaine was found dead at a flat in January 2016. Police said at the time that he had suffered a "traumatic and frightening death".

Keenan appeared at Antrim Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, and pleaded guilty to the murder charge.

Keenan will appear again at the same court on 4 May when a tariff hearing will be held to determine how long he should spend in custody before being released.

In November last year, Keenan's uncle, John Keenan, 51, also of Bloombeg View in Ballycastle, walked free from court after the judge ruled he should not stand trial for Mr McErlaine's murder.

Mr McErlaine, a father-of-two, was a labourer who had spent many years living in the Republic of Ireland.

He had also worked on the building of the Channel Tunnel and had worked for a construction company in Dunloy, County Antrim.

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