Three men in their 20’s have admitted the manslaughter of a man who was beaten to death in a suspected homophobic attack.
The three, 22-year-old Christopher Wright, Richard Chester (23) and 29-year-old James Jordan had been due to go on trial for the murder of Andrew Lorimer at Craigavon Crown Court, sitting in Belfast on Tuesday.
However a senior defence lawyer asked for the charge to be put to them again and it was then that all three said 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 with the director of the PPS, he had been instructed to accept the pleas to the lesser offence.
The battered body of 43-year-old Mr Lorimer was found by a burglar on 3 February who, coincidentally, broke into his flat at Portlec Place in Lurgan.
A previous court heard how evidence suggested Mr Lorimer had been kicked and beaten with a hammer in a suspected homophobic attack and also that he would have remained alive for a number of hours after the fatal attack.
Following the guilty pleas Wright from Mount Zion House, Jordan from Princes Street and Cheater, of no fixed abode, were remanded back into custody.
Mr Justice Weir adjourned passing sentence until November when pre-sentence probation reports have been compiled.