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Son of IRA victim admits his role in violent burglary

A son of IRA murder victim Jean McConville has admitted involvment in the violent burglary of a pensioner couple’s home nine years ago.

Standing in the dock of Belfast Crown Court wearing a black jacket and open collared shirt, 43-year-old James Paul McConville pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the aggravated burglary of a house in Lisburn in January 2001.

McConville, from Thornhill Crescent in Dunmurry, also pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting others not before the court in the false imprisonment of George and Thomasina Foster (87).

He had been charged with Mr Foster's manslaughter but that was “left on the books” after he changed his pleas on the morning the trial was due to begin.

The charges relate to a burglary at the elderly couple’s home in Manor Drive in Lisburn on January 17, 2001, when two men burst into the house and held the couple prisoner in an upstairs bedroom while they ransacked the property in search of money.

Mr Foster, who was 82 years old at the time, had suffered from angina but he managed to escape in his dressing gown and slippers and ran for help to a neighbour’s house where he tragically collapsed and died.

A post mortem later showed that he died from heart failure.

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Yesterday, Mr Justice Weir adjourned passing sentence until September when pre-sentence probation reports have been compiled on McConville.

He is one of the sons of Jean McConville who was abducted and murdered by the IRA in December 1972. Despite extensive searches by the Gardai Siochana, her body was accidentally found in August 2003 by members of the public who were out walking on Shelling Hill beach in Co Louth.

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