Northern Ireland

Richard McAuley jailed after admitting murder of Denise Dunlop

Denise Dunlop Image copyright BBC Newsline
Image caption It is understood Denise Dunlop, a mother of two, was stabbed to death

A man has been given a life sentence after he admitted murdering his 32-year-old partner in her home in Ballymena, County Antrim, last year.

Richard McAuley had originally denied the murder of Denise Dunlop last June.

Although no details of her death were outlined in court, it is understood she was stabbed in Centuripe Avenue in the early hours of Father's Day 2014.

McAuley, of Townhill Road, Portglenone, County Antrim, changed his plea during Wednesday's Antrim Crown Court hearing.

A defence barrister asked the court, sitting in Belfast, for the murder charge to be put to his client again and this time McAuley replied: "Guilty".

The judge told him the law permitted only one penalty for murder, and that was life imprisonment.

However, he added that that a tariff would be set at a later date, indicating when the 41-year-old may become eligible for release by the Parole Commissioners.

Ms Dunlop, a mother of two, had lived in what was known as 'the army houses' area of Ballymena.

Image caption Ms Dunlop was killed at her home in Centuripe Avenue last June

The properties were previously used as family accommodation for soldiers on the site of the former St Patrick's Barracks.

They were taken over by the Fold Housing Association and civilian families moved in late 2013.

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