Belfast Telegraph

Christopher Meli death: man pleads guilty to affray charge

Attacked: Christopher Meli
Attacked: Christopher Meli

By John Cassidy

A fourth person has admitted charges arising from violent altercations in west Belfast which resulted in the death of Christopher Meli.

The father-of-one, aged 20, was beaten to death on a pathway in Twinbrook on the evening of December 12, 2015.

A series of people were arrested and charged with offences linked to the murder, and with charges connected to other violent confrontations in the area on the night in question.

At Belfast Crown Court yesterday, Gary Samuel Lewis (21), of Thompson House, Antrim Road in north Belfast, was re-arraigned on charges he previously denied.

He pleaded guilty to fighting and making an affray on that date and assaulting Ryan Morris causing him actual bodily harm.

Prosecution counsel Neil Connor QC told the court an application for the remaining "two counts (of attempted grievous bodily harm) to be left on the books in the usual terms", had been made, which was granted by Mr Justice Colton.

The court heard sentencing of Lewis - who was released on continuing bail - would be adjourned until after the trial of a further four accused.

At sentencing medical reports on the accused will be heard.

Last month, two other co-accused pleaded guilty to a new charge on the bill of indictment. Aaron Stilges (21), of Laurelvale in Crumlin, Co Antrim, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm to Stephen Woods on December 12, 2015.

He further admitted a charge of affray. Other charges he previously faced and denied were "left on the books".

Daniel McGrath, also 21, from Thornhill Crescent, Dunmurry, pleaded guilty to affray and, like Stilges, other charges that were levelled against him have also now been "left on the books".

Eight people were charged with, and denied, offences linked to the fatal incident. Four are due to stand trial next week, three of whom have been charged with, and deny, murdering Mr Meli.

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