Bangor murder accused pleads guilty to manslaughter

Stephen Davidson was found stabbed in his living room in Bangor in February 2013
Stephen Davidson was found stabbed in his living room in Bangor in February 2013

A 42-year-old man has been remanded back into custody after he admitted killing another man at a house in Co Down over two years ago.

Stephen Davidson, 31, was stabbed and found in the living room of his home in the Ballyholme Road area of Bangor on February 10, 2013.

Police forensic officers outside a house on the Ballyholme Road in Bangor, Co Down, where murder victim Stephen Davidson was found

Police forensic officers outside a house on the Ballyholme Road in Bangor, Co Down, where murder victim Stephen Davidson was found

Paul Stephen Bustard, who is originally from Bangor but whose address was given as Bush Park in Antrim, was initially charged with murdering Mr Davidson.

He denied the charge and was due to stand trial for murder at Belfast Crown Court. However, a new charge of manslaughter was added to the bill of indictment, and when Bustard was arraigned on this charge yesterday, he replied guilty.

After the guilty plea was entered, prosecuting barrister David McDowell QC said the Crown was accepting the plea to manslaughter, and asked that the murder charge be “left on the books”, not to be proceeded with.

Defence barrister said: “The basis of this plea is that the accused was acting in reasonable self-defence, and unfortunately the self-defence passed the line in an unintended injury which caused the death of Mr Davidson.”

Mr Justice Maguire said the case would be listed again for plea and sentence on June 19.

Three other co-accused will also be sentenced later this year, including Bustard’s mother Olywn.

The 63-year old, from Rubgy Avenue in Bangor, appeared in court in February and pleaded guilty to a charge of assisting an offender. She admitted sending a text message to her son on February 11, 2013 advising him to switch his phone off.

Also appearing alongside Mrs Bustard earlier this year was James Owen Gawn, 51, from High Street in Bangor, who was charged with withholding information about the fatal incident. Gawn pleaded guilty to failing to provide information to police on a date between February 9 and 12, 2013.

Bustard, his mother and Gawn are all due to be sentenced on the same day.

Also due to be sentenced is 32-year old Meabh Brenda Mairead Farrell, who admitted two charges linked to the death of Mr Davidson.

Farrell, whose address was given as a Woman’s Aid hostel on Belfast’s Deerpark Road, admitted perverting the course of justice, and of assisting an offender.

It is understood she will be sentenced on a separate date to her co-accused.