Northern Ireland

Michelle Owens admits killing son, Brendan, at Lisburn home

Belfast Crown Court
Image caption When the charge of murder was put to Ms Owens, she replied: "Not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter''

A mother has admitted killing her three-year-old toddler son at their Lisburn home almost two years ago.

Michelle Owens, 28, from Trinity Terrace, had pleaded not guilty to murdering Brendan Owens on 3 July 2013 at an earlier court appearance.

Her defence lawyer told the judge he was making an application to have Ms Owens re-arraigned on the single charge of murder she faced.

She denied murdering her son but admitted his manslaughter.

When the clerk of Belfast Crown Court put the charge of murder to her, she replied: "Not guilty to murder but I plead guilty to manslaughter.''

A prosecution lawyer told the court he had three expert medical reports which had been completed following an assessment on Ms Owens which stated that the killing was carried out through diminished responsibility.

He told the judge: "Therefore the plea of manslaughter by way of diminished responsibility is accepted.''

No details surrounding the toddler's death were outlined in court on Friday.

Following her guilty plea the judge ordered a pre-sentence and adjourned sentencing until 8 May.

Ms Owens was returned on bail to a secure psychiatric unit at Knockbracken Health Care park in south Belfast.

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