The mother of self-confessed drunken drug addict Thomas ‘Biddy' Valliday wept and shouted out after he was convicted of the murder of IRA veteran Francis ‘Bap' McGreevy.
The 51-year-old father-of-two was found brutally beaten in his Ross Street blood-stained flat on March 15 2008.
He died three days later in hospital from multiple head injuries.
Valliday, from nearby Lady Street, admitted fighting with the convicted IRA killer but claimed two nameless men were responsible for the “vile, brutal and violent” attack which led to his death.
Belfast Crown Court judge Mr Justice Hart told 22-year-old Valliday that the law proscribed only one sentence for murder, life.
However, he told Valliday, who showed no emotion at the guilty verdict, that next month he will fix the minimum tariff he must serve before he can be considered for release on parole.
Just prior to the jury being called into court to deliver their verdict Mr Justice Hart had warned that any “sound, disruption or incident whatsoever from the public gallery” would result in it being cleared immediately.
Initially one member of Mr McGreevy's family fled the court in tears as she covered her mouth with her hand.
It was after the judge and jury had left that a weeping Valliday's mother shouted out and had to be restrained by her husband, who led her from the public gallery.
It had taken the jury of eight women and four men eight hours and 20 minutes over two days to unanimously convict Valliday at the end of a 15-day trial, throughout which he'd maintained his innocence. By their verdict the jury rejected his claim that he was incapable of such a brutal attack, although he admitted that at one stage he had punched McGreevy.
Giving evidence, Valliday claimed he had no memory of attacking him and declared: “I can say bluntly I couldn't have done anything like that. I don't think I would be capable of doing anything like that.”
However, the jury have accepted the prosecution case that he was high on drink and drugs when he battered McGreevy with a variety of weapons including a pick-axe handle and two brush shafts.