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Guilty plea Man (44) jailed for life after admitting to murdering Belfast grandmother Alice Morrow

Despite denying the offence for over two years, on Monday he pleaded guilty to murdering Ms Morrow.

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Murder victim Alice Morrow

Murder victim Alice Morrow

Murder victim Alice Morrow

A 44-year old man was handed a life sentence on Monday after he admitted murdering east Belfast grandmother Alice Morrow.

William Hutchinson will be told how long he will spend in prison before he is considered eligible for release at a tariff hearing which is due to take place in September.

Despite denying the offence for over two years, on Monday he pleaded guilty to murdering Ms Morrow.

The popular 53-year old grandmother was found dead in the bedroom of her Whincroft Way flat in east Belfast on March 10, 2019.

Hutchinson, from Kilbroney House in Belfast, was due to stand trial on Monday on a charge of murdering Ms Morrow.

Just before a jury was due to be sworn, his barrister asked that the murder charge be put to him again.

As the friends and family of Ms Morrow sat in the public gallery at Belfast Crown Court, Hutchinson firstly spoke to confirm his name.

When the charge of murdering Alice Morrow was put to him, Hutchinson spoke again and replied "guilty."

Defence barrister Niall Hunt QC told Judge Geoffrey Miller QC that he would be seeking pre-sentence reports on his client, including a psychiatric report.

This, the barrister said, may take some time due to Covid.

Crown barrister Terence Mooney QC informed the judge he will be asking Ms Morrow's family if they wish to make a Victim Impact Statement ahead of the tariff hearing.

Addressing Ms Morrow's family, Judge Miller told them: "The court is acutely aware that this has been a harrowing experience for all family members, which has been protracted by virtue of the delay in the defendant facing up to the inevitable consequences of his actions."

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Informing the deceased's loved ones that Hutchinson will be sentenced in September, Judge Miller added: "The court extends its sympathy to the family of the deceased and hopes that at the least today marks the beginning of closure in this tragic case."

After Hutchinson admitted the murder charge, he was told by Judge Miller: "You have today, on the morning of your trial, entered a plea of guilty to the murder of Alice Morrow.

"There is only one sentence this court can pass upon you and that is one of life imprisonment.

"The tariff — the period of time you must spent in custody prior to being considered for parole after which you will remain subject to licence conditions for the remainder of your natural life — will be determined on September 24.

"You will be remanded in custody and produced back before this court on September 24, when I will fix the tariff hearing."

The judge then addressed the prison staff and told them "take him down."

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