Belfast Telegraph

Hopes that family can 'find some closure'

By Claire Williamson

There is hope that a family grieving the loss of a loved one can move on with their lives after a man pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of a Coleraine pensioner.

Yesterday 41-year-old Paul Toland from The Cedars, Antrim, pleaded guilty to the unlawful killing of pensioner Bertie Acheson (72) in his home in April 2012. Toland told Belfast Crown Court that he was not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter.

Mayor of Coleraine George Duddy said he hoped the family could now have "some kind of closure".

He said: "I'm sure it gives the family some kind of closure that somebody has been made amenable.

"It takes that threat away from it happening again to another family. Everyone was shocked by it at the time and I'm sure everybody will be glad that it's come to its natural conclusion, and that someone has been made amenable and will face jail."

Independent MLA Claire Sugden said: "It's one of those things that it is the start of a process of giving the family closure on this incident.

"The man's death was unexpected in how it happened, so hopefully it can get the family on a path of closure to let them move on from it.

"It seems such a senseless crime taht for the sake of a few hundred pounds that the man was killed."

Local UUP councillor David Barbour said: "I wish more people that committed crimes had a spark of conscience, because if you are dealt with in this country you are dealt with fairly.

"If you are honest you are dealt with fairly, and you expect everyone to be brave enough to take the punishment handed out to you.

"I think people should understand we are living in a very humane society and it pays to come forward and make your confessions to the public.

"And that will bring peace and settlement to the people who have been grieved and lost a loved one," he added.

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