Belfast Telegraph

Police to send team to re-investigate horrific murder after 'confession'

By Victoria McMahon

The gruesome murder of east Belfast schoolboy Brian McDermott is set to be re-investigated after the alleged confession of his big brother, police have revealed.

William McDermott allegedly admitted killing his kid brother Brian nearly 35 years ago in one of the most horrific murders to rock the tight-knit community of east Belfast and beyond.

Ten-year-old Brian disappeared after failing to return to his Well Street home in the lower Woodstock Road area for Sunday dinner back in September 2, 1973. He was last seen playing alone at Ormeau Park that afternoon.

Police mounted a massive search and missing person's appeal, but it wasn't until almost a week later when the River Lagan was lowered that the grisly discovery of some of Brian's remains were uncovered.

A sack containing the little lad's torso, arm and charred remains was found on the river bed.

Now almost 35 years later, Worcester Magistrates Court in England last week was told via a statement from McDermott's ex-wife, Sarah MacLeod he allegedly committed the killing.

It said: “Prior to us splitting up was the 30th anniversary of his brother's death. He had been murdered in Belfast when he was 10.

“The police reopened the case in 2003. Mr McDermott was panicking that the case was being reopened, while the rest of the family were pleased.

“Mr McDermott then confided in me that he had murdered his brother. I then told the police.”

Fifty-year-old McDermott— a violent offender — was then sent to prison for four-months for sending a string of threatening and abusive texts to Ms MacLeod.

After her divorce from McDermott in 2003, Ms MacLeod said she was so scared of him her home had become a fortress and her children also lived in fear.

A police spokeswoman said they could not comment on whether they are now planning to question McDermott about the murder, but she revealed the case will be reviewed by the Retrospective Murder Review Unit.

She said: “All new information will be considered by the unit and where possible, further investigations carried out.”

It is understood the long distance lorry driver was questioned and charged in March 2004 over the murder after PSNI detectives were informed of the alleged confession by English police who had acted on his ex-wife's tip-off.

However, although a file was prepared and passed to the DPP it directed no prosecution should take place.

Belfast Telegraph

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