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Bangor cocaine addict guilty of killing lover at party

A former cocaine addict who stabbed his girlfriend nine times in a frenzied attack in front of guests at a house party later told a friend he had been thinking of “butchering” her for weeks, a court has heard.





Flowers at the scene at Park Avenue in Bangor where Mark Wallace stabbed Katie Hughes at a party



Mark Wallace, aged 26, from Elmwood Drive in Bangor, has pleaded guilty to the murder in April last year of single mother Katie Hughes, who would have been 23 yesterday.

A judge will tell Wallace next Friday how much of a life sentence he will have to serve before he is considered eligible to apply for parole. It is expected that Mr Justice Hart will set a minimum tariff of at least 16 years.

A prosecution lawyer told Downpatrick Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, that Wallace, who was once forced to leave Northern Ireland by paramilitaries because of drugs debts, became jealous after hearing Ms Hughes talking to a friend at the party about a previous relationship.

He went into the kitchen of the house in Park Avenue in Bangor and returned to a sofa to sit beside Ms Hughes, who has a four-year- old child, before attacking her with a knife he had got from a drawer.

At first stunned guests thought the couple were “messing around”, said the lawyer, but when one of them confronted Wallace he swung the knife at him too.

The lawyer said Wallace fled from the party and when he saw police at his mother’s home, he ended up in a house in Newtow

nards where he told a friend that Ms Hughes had been “winding him up and making a fool of him in front of his mates”.

He said he had been thinking of “butchering” her for a few weeks and also talked about stabbing his mother “because she had touted on him”.

Police arrested Wallace in Newtownards and he claimed he had got the kitchen knife to scare his girlfriend but he said he snapped and lashed out at her after she “said something”.

A defence lawyer said Wallace was ashamed of what he had done and had thought about taking his own life in prison.

He was remanded in custody and members of Katie Hughes’ family, including her widowed mother Helen, watched as he was led away by prison officers.

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