Man gets life sentence for east Belfast murder

George Gray was murdered at his Belfast home more than two years ago
George Gray was murdered at his Belfast home more than two years ago

An east Belfast man has been given life for the murder of father-of-three George Gray, who was killed in his Cregagh Road home over two years ago.

Alan Irvine, 31, from Imperial Street in the Ballymacarret area of the city, was rearraigned on Thursday on a single charge of murdering 52-year-old Mr Gray on a date between August 29 and September 1, 2012.

Standing in the dock of Downpatrick Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, Irvine shook and was tearful as he replied “guilty” to the charge.

Family and friends of the deceased sat in the public gallery and maintained a dignified silence as Irvine admitted the charge.

Irvine was told by Mr Justice Weir that as he had pleaded guilty to murder, there was only one penalty he would face – life imprisonment. Informing Irvine that “for the moment, I sentence you to life imprisonment”, the judge added the length of the term to be served will be imposed next month.

Defence barrister Martin O’Rourke asked that a pre-sentence report be prepared for his client, which was granted by Mr Justice Weir.

The court also heard that victim impact reports will be submitted ahead of the sentencing, which is due to take place on February 20.

Last month the defendant’s mother Elizabeth Irvine appeared in court, where she was charged with two counts linked to the murder of Mr Gray.

The wheelchair-bound 64-year-old, from Rosebery Gardens in Belfast, admitted charges of perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

At that hearing, she was released on continuing bail.

She will also be sentenced next month.