Guilty plea | 

Man handed life sentence for murder of baby Hunter Patrick McGleenon in Co Armagh

The 11-month-old died as a result of what was described as a “non accidental” head injury

Hunter McGleenon

Paul Higgins

A grieving mother wept in court as her ex-boyfriend was handed a life sentence after he admitted murdering her infant son.

Sharyar Ali (34) was due to go on trial at Newry Crown Court on Wednesday for the murder of 11-month-old Hunter Patrick McGleenon.

But following legal discussions, defence QC Charles MacCreanor asked for the murder charge to be put to the Pakistani national again.

With little Hunter’s mum Nicole and relatives sitting just a few feet away in the public gallery, many of them understandably tearful, Ali said simply “guilty” when the court clerk put the charge to him.

Sharyar Ali (34) pleaded guilty to the murder of baby Hunter on Wednesday

Following the last-minute confession, Mr Justice McFarland told the killer there is only one sentence permitted in law for murder, “and that is life imprisonment.”

Remanding Ali back into custody, the judge adjourned the case to allow Hunter’s grieving family to make victim impact statements and for probation to complete a pre-sentence report on the illegal immigrant and self-confessed killer.

Putting the case back to June 15, Mr Justice McFarland said once he had all the necessary reports, he would set the minimum tariff Ali must spend in jail before he can even be considered for release on licence.

While Ali, with an address at Westenra Terrace in Monaghan, admitted murdering Hunter on November 26 2019, prosecuting QC Richard Weir asked for a second charge of causing actual bodily harm to the infant on a date unknown between November 24 to 27 to be left on the books.

None of the facts were heard in open court on Wednesday but, previously, the court heard how Hunter died as a result of non accidental injuries to his head and abdomen.

A prosecuting lawyer told an earlier court that Ali was looking after Hunter at a property in Keady while the little boy’s mother was with relatives and that he died as a result of what was described as a “non accidental” head injury.

Ali, who had been in a relationship with Hunter’s mum for about a year, claimed the infant had fallen off a low sofa and struck his head on a concrete floor, further claiming to interviewing detectives that he had performed CPR and given Hunter a cold shower to “revive him.”

In the morning, however, Ali said he noticed the child’s lips were blue and he wasn’t breathing so he took him to the baby’s mother and told the family Hunter was not able to breathe and they rushed out but tragically, he was dead.

“At no time did he ring for medical assistance,” the earlier court heard.

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