Northern Ireland: Three plead guilty to manslaughter of man killed in suspected homophobic attack

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Three men in their twenties have admitted to the manslaughter of Andrew Lorimer, who was beaten to death in a suspected homophobic attack in Lurgen, County Armagh.

The body of the 43-year-old, a former canoeing instructor and security guard, was found by a burglar who broke into his flat in Portlec Place, Lurgan, in February last year.

Christopher Wright, 22, Richard Chester, 23, and James Jordan, 29, were arrested and charged later that month, and had been due to appear at Craigavon Crown Court near Lurgen on Tuesday.

A senior defence lawyer asked for the charge to be put to them again however, with all three stating that they were “not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.”

Prosecution QC Terence Mooney told Mr Justice Weir that having reviewed the evidence and consulted the director of the Public Prosecution Service, he had been instructed to accept the pleas to the lesser offence.

A previous court had heard evidence that suggested Mr Lorimer was kicked and beaten with a hammer, and was told that he would have likely remained alive for a number of hours after the brutal attack.

After entering their guilty pleas, Wright, Jordan, and Chester, were remanded back into custody.

Mr Justice Weir adjourned passing sentence until November.

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