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Duo’s murder convictions reduced to manslaughter

A mother and son jailed for murdering another guest at a wedding they attended are to have their convictions reduced to manslaughter, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Senior judges held that jury verdicts that Brenda Meehan and Sean Devenney murdered Jim McFadden in Londonderry were unsafe.

But Mrs Meehan's husband, James Oliver Meehan, who was found guilty of inflicting the fatal blows, failed to have his conviction overturned.

The victim, a 42-year-old father of four, died of a ruptured heart after being kicked or stamped on the chest outside his home in the city's Shantallow area in May 2007.

He was beaten after returning with his family from a wedding reception in Donegal also attended by the Meehans and Devenney.

The confrontation which led to his death was said to have followed an earlier row over insults directed at the victim's daughter.

Devenney and Brenda Meehan, who embraced each other and James Meehan, will have their new sentences decided at a hearing next month.

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