Second brother admits brutal east Belfast murder

Matthew Goddard was murdered on Christmas Eve 2014
Matthew Goddard was murdered on Christmas Eve 2014

A 30-year-old Belfast man has joined his older brother in prison to await being sentenced for his part in the brutal murder of 41-year-old Matthew Goddard at Christmas 2014.

As James Henry Turner from Dunraven Court was due to go on trial at Belfast Crown Court, defence QC Patrick Lyttle asked that he be rearraigned.

Having pleaded guilty, Turner was remanded back into custody.

His 37-year-old brother William Turner from Glenea Grove, also Belfast, was returned to custody when he pleaded guilty to the murder last Friday.

Mr Goddard was found murdered in the living room of his east Belfast home in Chobham Street on Christmas Eve 2014.

At the time it was said he had been the victim of a brutal and sustained attack, and had even been beaten with his own electric guitar.

A third man, Christian Walker of Ribble Street, Belfast, was acquitted of the murder by direction of trial judge Mr Justice Treacy, after the prosecution offered no evidence in relation to him.

This had followed Walker’s guilty pleas to two additional charges in which he admitted perverting the course of public justice by providing the Turner brothers with false alibis for the murder, and conspiring with them to pervert justice and the police investigation into the killing.

Prosecution QC Ciaran Murphy told Mr Justice Treacy that in light of Walker’s guilty pleas he had taken the opportunity to take further instructions and that the Crown were offering no further evidence of the murder charge in his case.

Mr Murphy added that Walker was therefore entitled to be formally acquitted by the jury of six men and six women, who were sworn last week to hear the case.

Similarly James Turner was acquitted of attacking another man when the prosecution offered no evidence on that charge. His brother is awaiting sentence on this charge, having also pleaded guilty.

Walker was released on continuing bail while pre-sentence reports are prepared before all three men are sentenced next month.

Defence QC Charles McCreanor said that both psychiatric and psychological reports on Walker had already been lodged with the court.

Mr Lyttle for Turner, said his client had been suffering from a long-time brain injury and that it was intended that a psychiatric report in him will also be made available to the court.

For the prosecution, Mr Murphy said they would be providing victim impact reports from Mr Goddard’s wife Maureen and immediate family.