Belfast Telegraph

George Gray murder: man gets life for brutal murder of father

East Belfast man was tearful when pleading guilt in court

By Ashleigh McDonald

An east Belfast man has been given life for the murder of father-of-three George Gray, who was killed in his Cregagh Road home more than two years ago.

Alan Irvine (31) from Imperial Street in the Ballymacarret area of the city was re-arraigned on a single charge of murdering Mr Gray on a date between August 29 and September 1, 2012.

Standing in the dock of Downpatrick Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, Irvine shook and was tearful as he replied “guilty” to the charge of murdering Mr Grey (52).

Family and friends of the deceased sat in the public gallery as Irvine admitted the charge.

Following his guilty plea, Irvine was told by Mr Justice Weir that as he had pleaded guilty to murder, there was only one penalty he would face - and that was a penalty of life imprisonment. Informing Irvine that “for the moment, I sentence you to life imprisonment”, the Judge added the length of the term to be served will be imposed next month.

Defence barrister Martin O’Rourke asked that a pre-sentence report be prepared for his client, which was granted by Mr Jusice Weir.

The court also heard that victim impact reports will be submitted ahead of the sentencing, which is due to take place on February 20, 2015.

Last month the defendant’s mother Elizabeth Irvine appeared in court, where she was charged with two counts linked to the murder of Mr Gray.

The wheelchair-bound 64-year old, from Rosebery Gardens in Belfast, admitted two charges - namely perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

She pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice on dates between August 31 and September 3, 2012 by provided both a verbal alibi and a written alibi statement to police in respect of the whereabouts of her son Alan Irvine.

Regarding the charge of withholding information concerning an arrestable offence, Mrs Irvine admitted that Alan Irvine informed her he had beaten George Gray and before leaving his flat had checked to see if he was still breathing, and that she without reasonable excuse failed to give that information within a reasonable time to a constable.

At that hearing, she was released on continuing bail.

Both mother and son will be sentenced for the offences next month.

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