Belfast Telegraph

Lisburn mum admits manslaughter of toddler son

By John Cassidy

A Co Antrim mother today (Friday) admitted killing her three-year-old toddler son at their Lisburn home almost two years ago.

Earlier this month Michelle Owens (28), from Trinity Terrace in the Tonagh area of the city, pleaded not guilty to murdering Brendan Owens on July 3, 2013.

However, her defence counsel Mark Mulholland QC today told Mr Justice Weir that he was making an application to have Ms Owens re-arrainged on the single charge of murder she faced.

Dressed in a black trouser suit and wearing a pink blouse, the mother walked into the dock of Belfast Crown Court flanked by two medical staff.

When the clerk of the court put the charge of murder to her, the defendant replied: "Not guilty to murder but I plead guilty to manslaughter.''

Crown counsel Ciaran Murphy QC said he was in receipt of three expert medical reports which had been completed following an assessment on Ms Owens which stated that the killing was carried out through diminished responsibility.

He told Mr Justice Weir: "Therefore the plea of manslaughter by way of diminished responsibility is accepted in satisfaction of the indictment.''

No details surrounding the toddler's death were outlined in court today.

Following her guilty plea to manslaughter, Mr Justice Weir ordered a pre-sentence and adjourned sentencing until Friday, May 8.

Ms Owens was returned on bail to a secure psychiatric unit at Knockbracken Health Care park in south Belfast.

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