A west Belfast teenager has been jailed for life after he admitted murdering a man who was beaten to death.
Father-of-eight and grandfather Seamus Fox (58) was found with serious head injuries on waste ground close to |Woodbourne PSNI station last year. He had been walking to his Horn Road home.
He died despite medical efforts.
Just before 19-year-old Gerard Connors was rearraigned at Belfast Crown Court yesterday, defence QC Brian McCartney said he was instructed on behalf of Connors and his family “to |apologise openly for the very tragic outcome of this matter for the family of the deceased and to offer, on behalf of that family, their heartfelt condolences for the loss of Seamus”.
The lawyer added that Connors “has chosen to make it as easy as possible for that family”.
Mr Justice Hart commented that while the Fox family would no doubt appreciate the sentiments, they have come “late in the day”.
With his solicitor standing |beside him in the dock, Connors, from Glenveagh Drive, pleaded guilty to the murder of Mr Fox on April 27 last year.
Mr Justice Hart told him: “The law only allows one sentence to be imposed in relation to the crime of murder and I sentence you |accordingly to life imprisonment”.
The judge adjourned fixing the minimum tariff Connors must serve before being considered for release on licence until November when pre-sentence probation reports and victim impact statements have been lodged with the court.
“If the accused wishes to see any of his family before he is removed I'm sure the prison authorities will deal with that sympathetically,” said Mr Justice Hart.
At the time of Mr Fox’s death police said he had been the victim of a “very brutal attack”.
In the days following the murder local parish priest Father Martin Magill described Mr Fox as “a very well-respected member of our local community”.
“He was a quiet, decent, good man.
“A loving husband, father and grandfather.
“People are trying to make some sort of sense of this and to try and pick up the pieces and go on as best we possibly can.”