Belfast Telegraph

Quartet admit charges over killing of relative at Traveller wedding

By John Cassidy

Four members of the same family, including a father and son, have admitted charges relating to the shotgun killing of a relative at a Traveller wedding almost three years ago.

Bernard 'Barney' McGinley was shot dead outside St Mary's Church in Newtownbutler on February 11, 2015.

The 63-year-old, from Co Longford, was gunned down in front of his wife and grandchildren.

Patrick McGinley (49), from Ardlougher Road in Irvinestown, Co Fermanagh; his 29-year-old son William McGinley, from Sallyswood in Irvinestown, Co Fermanagh; Patrick McGinley (24), from Lisfarrell in Edgeworthstown, Co Longford, and a youth who cannot be named due to his age, had previously pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr McGinley and attempting to murder his son Bernard Oliver McGinley.

All four defendants had been due to stand trial on Monday at Dungannon Crown Court. The trial was expected to last up to six weeks.

But at Belfast Crown Court yesterday, amid tight security, defence barristers for the four defendants asked them to be rearraigned on the charges they faced.

Patrick McGinley (49) pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter.

William McGinley pleaded not guilty to attempted murder but pleaded guilty to wounding with intent.

Prosecution counsel Neil Connor QC told the court that a new charge had now been added to the indictment in respect of the two remaining defendants.

Patrick McGinley (24) and the youth, who was allowed to stand outside of the dock, both pleaded guilty to the new charge of affray.

Mr Connor told judge Mr Justice Adrian Colton that the guilty pleas were acceptable to the prosecution'.

He asked for the remaining charges to be "left on the books and not to be proceeded with without the leave of the Crown Court or the Court of Appeal''.

Mr Connor added that a victim impact report on Mr McGinley's widow had already been completed. Mrs McGinley and family relatives were present in court for the hearing.

Defence barristers for a number of the defendants said they would be producing medical reports for the sentencing hearing.

Mr Justice Colton ordered pre-sentence reports on all four defendants and released them on continuing bail ahead of the sentencing hearing in six weeks on Friday, March 23.

Bernard McGinley was shot moments before the wedding was due to start.

He was airlifted to hospital, where he later died.

He was understood to be the uncle of 49-year-old Patrick McGinley.

At the time of the killing police had linked the shooting to a feud within the Traveller community.

Belfast Telegraph

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