Belfast Telegraph

Belfast man Taylor admits trying to murder lover's son with iron bar

By John Cassidy

An east Belfast man has pleaded guilty to trying to murder his lover's son with an iron drop bar almost two years ago.

Ryan Edward Taylor (31), of Templemore Street, had been due to go on trial on Tuesday accused of attempting to murder Matthew Larsen in north Belfast.

Taylor had previously denied trying to kill Mr Larsen at a flat in Ross House, Mount Vernon, in north Belfast on December 28, 2015.

A jury of eight men and four women were sworn in and had been prepared by Belfast Recorder and trial Judge David McFarland to hear evidence in the case from a number of witnesses.

But after a short adjournment, defence counsel Greg Berry QC told the judge and jury sitting on the trial: "I have an application to have the defendant re-arraigned on the charge of attempted murder.''

Taylor, flanked  by two prison officers in the dock, pleaded "guilty'' when the charge of attempting to murder Mr Larsen was put to him by the court clerk.

Judge McFarland told the jury: "Mr Taylor had previously pleaded guilty to assaulting to Mr Larsen and you have now heard his confession to attempted murder and there is no longer any need for a trial. I am going to direct that you find him guilty.

"The victim in this case had been caused serious injury. He was assaulted with an iron bar which is in that evidence box.''

The Belfast Recorder ordered the preparation of a pre-sentence report.

"Given the nature of these offences and his previous record, the Probation Service should consider the issue of dangerousness in relation to this defendant. Take him down,'' added the judge.

Co-accused Julie Larsen (43), of Fortwilliam Crescent in north Belfast, was due to go on trial on Monday of this week but pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice, namely “cleaning up the scene of a crime and making a false statement to police’’.

Both will be sentenced on November 20.

No details were given in court today about the circumstances surrounding the murder bid and assault.

But during an unsuccessful High Court bail application in July 2016 by Taylor, a prosecution lawyer gave details of the attack in opposing his release from custody.

She said that Matthew Larsen was asleep when Ryan Taylor and his partner Julie Larsen arrived back at her flat in Ross House.

Mr Larsen's girlfriend let the couple in before Taylor took a drop bar used to barricade the front door and launched the bedroom attack.

The court heard an initial strike to the side of his head rendered the victim unconscious.

Madam Justice McBride was told that Taylor "rained around 20 heavy blows to Mr Larsen's head, using the heavy drop bar as a weapon".

The attack caused Mr Larsen's “ear to explode’’.

His girlfriend Danielle McAllister was also beaten as she tried to shield him, fracturing her arm. She was pregnant at the time and has since given birth.

Mr Larsen spent a long period in intensive care following the assault.

It was claimed that after ambulance staff took him from the flat Taylor allegedly threatened to kill up to three witnesses if they went to police.

The court heard Julie Larsen was not accused of taking part in the attack, but Mrs McKay told the court she knew he was to get a beating and had stated: "He may be my son but he deserved it."

According to the prosecution, the drop bar had been cleaned before it was seized.

A duvet cover was also laid across heavily blood-stained pillows and bedding was found in the washing machine.

"There was clearly an attempt to make the forensic evidence disappear," the barrister submitted.

Referring to Julie Larsen's role, Mrs McKay added: "She said she has OCD, that's why she cleaned up the bed linen".

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