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'defenceless' Belfast man to serve minimum of 11 years for brutal double killing of neighbours

Stephen Arthur Andrew McBrine beat Frances Murray (37) and Joseph Dutton (47) to death in north Belfast on December 23 2019

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Steven McBrine has been jailed for a minimum of 11 years

Steven McBrine has been jailed for a minimum of 11 years

Steven McBrine has been jailed for a minimum of 11 years

A 38-year-old man has been told he will spend a minimum of 11 years in prison for the "brutal" killing of two "defenceless" people.

Stephen Arthur Andrew McBrine beat Frances Murray (37) and Joseph Dutton (47) to death in Ms Murray's flat in north Belfast on December 23 2019.

As well as inflicting fatal injuries in the attack, McBrine also stabbed Ms Murray in the throat with a broken vodka bottle - just hours after punching her in the face and telling her "I'm going to do you in."

At the time of the alcohol-induced double manslaughter, all three resided in separate flats in an apartment complex at Kinnaird Close in the Antrim Road area of the city.

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Victims Frances Murray and Joseph Dutton

Victims Frances Murray and Joseph Dutton

Victims Frances Murray and Joseph Dutton

 

The trio had been drinking on December 22 and 23 - and the last time Ms Murray was seen alive was when she was captured on an internal CCTV system entering her flat at 10.45am on December 23.

McBrine was seen exiting her flat wearing blood-stained clothing at 12.12pm, and the alarm was raised half an hour later when a neighbour discovered the lifeless bodies of Ms Murray and Mr Dutton in her flat.

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The scene of the attack in the Kinnaird Close area of north Belfast

The scene of the attack in the Kinnaird Close area of north Belfast

The scene of the attack in the Kinnaird Close area of north Belfast

McBrine - who appeared for the sentence hearing at Belfast Crown Court via a videolink with Maghaberry - was handed two life sentences by Mr Justice O'Hara.

He was initially charged with murder, but pleas to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility were accepted.

Mr Justice O'Hara imposed the concurrent life sentences on McBrine and told him that he will serve a minimum of 11 years in prison before he is considered eligible for release by the Parole Commissioners.

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