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Bangor manslaughter: Paul Bustard remanded in custody after admitting Stephen Davidson killing

By Ashleigh McDonald

Published 06/05/2015

Victim Stephen Davidson
Victim Stephen Davidson

A 42-year-old man was remanded back into custody today after he admitted killing a man at a house in Co Down over two years ago.

Stephen Davidson (31) was stabbed and found in the living room of his home in the Ballyholme Road area of Bangor on February 10, 2013

Paul Stephen Bustard, who is originally from Bangor but whose address was given as Bush Park in Antrim, was initially charged with murdering Mr Davidson.

The 42-year old denied the charge and was due to stand trial for murder at Belfast Crown Court. However, a new charge of manslaughter was added to the bill of indictment, and when Bustard was arraigned on this charge earlier today, he replied 'guilty.'

After the guilty plea was entered, prosecuting barrister David McDowell QC said the Crown was accepting the plea to manslaughter, and asked that the murder charge be "left on the books", not to be proceeded with.

Defence barrister John McCrudden, who is representing the defendant, told the court: "The accused Mr Bustard has pleaded guilty to the unlawful killing of Mr Davidson.

"The basis of this plea is that the accused was acting in reasonable self-defence, and unfortunately the self-defence passed the line in an unintended injury which caused the death of Mr Davidson."

Mr Justice Maguire said the case would be listed again for plea and sentence on June 19, 2015.

Three other co-accused who are connected to the case will also be sentenced later this year, including Bustard's mother Olywn.

The 63-year old, from Rubgy Avenue in Bangor, appeared in court in February this year, and pleaded guilty to a charge of assisting an offender. Mrs Bustard admitted sending a text message to her son on February 11, 2013 advising him to switch his phone off.

Also appearing alongside Mrs Bustard earlier this year was James Owen Gawn (51) from High Street in Bangor, who was charged with withholding information about the fatal incident. Gawn pleaded guilty to failing to provide information to police on a date between February 9 and 12, 2013.

Bustard, his mother Olywn and Gawn are all due to be sentenced on the same day.

Also due to be sentenced is 32-year old Meabh Breanda Mairead Farrell, who admitted two charges linked to the death of Mr Davidson.

Farrell, whose address was given as a Woman's Aid Hostel on Belfast's Deerpark Road, admitted perverting the course of justice, and of assisting an offender.

During a previous hearing held in January, Farrell admitted perverting the course of justice on dates between February 6 and 12, 2013 by causing injuries to her body in order to assist Paul Stephen Bustard in alleging that he was acting in self defence over the killing of Mr Davidson.

She also admitted assisting Bustard by helping him to find accommodation in order to evade detection by the police, on the same dates.

It is understood that Farrell will be sentenced on a separate date to her the co-accused.

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