East Belfast: Man pleads guilty to murdering his friend

Image caption,
Kenneth Cowan was initially arrested after the incident in Titania Street in east Belfast

A man has pleaded guilty to the murder of his friend at a house in east Belfast in April.

Kenneth Cowan, 29, of Titania Street, was due to go on trial in January.

During a hearing in September, Cowan had denied murdering his friend Brian Anthony Burke.

On Friday, a defence barrister asked for Cowan to be re-arraigned. When the charge of murder was put to Cowan he replied "guilty".

In light of his guilty plea, Judge McFarland said he was imposing an immediate sentence of life imprisonment.

Stab wounds

A tariff hearing will be held on 1 February to determine how long Cowan will spend in prison before he is eligible to apply for parole.

No details were given in court on Friday about the murder.

At a previous arraignment hearing, his defence counsel Gavan Duffy QC told the court: "The position is that the defendant in this case accepts full responsibility for causing the death of the deceased Mr Burke.''

Mr Burke was treated for stab wounds at the scene of the murder in Titania Street in east Belfast on 8 April.

He was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital and died a short time later.