A Londonderry man has been found not guilty of murdering Barry McCrory at a flat in the city 15 months ago.
When it was announced on Friday that the judge was acquitting Kieran McLaughlin of what he termed a “vile, savage, cold and callous killing,” there was uproar in the public gallery.
Tearful relatives of the deceased – who was blasted to death as slept in bed at a flat in Shipquay Street on October 10, 2013 – stormed out of Belfast Crown Court.
Judge Mr Justice Horner, who sat alone without a jury in the Diplock case, said there was no forensic evidence to link McLaughlin, 60 and of Elaghmore Park, Galliagh, to the murder.
“The court must conclude that the charge of murder against the defendant has not been proven to the requisite standard,” Mr Justice Horner told the court.
“The Crown has not discharged the heavy burden of proof placed upon it to prove beyond reasonable doubt the defendant committed the murder of the deceased.”
However, the trial judge found McLaughlin guilty of possessing a loaded sawn-off double barrelled shotgun and a Mauser pistol with intent to endanger life.
McLauglin previously pleaded guilty to possessing the guns, plus ammunition, in suspicious circumstances.