Northern Ireland

Marcell Seeley murder: Mark Ward found guilty of killing

Police have cordoned off the flat in Dingwell Park where the man's body was discovered
Image caption Mr Seeley's body was found in a flat in Dingwell Park

A 25-year-old man from County Armagh has been given a life sentence after being found guilty of murder.

A jury at Belfast Crown Court found Mark Daniel Ward guilty of beating Marcell 'Junior' Seeley to death in October 2015.

The remains of the 34-year-old father of four were found in the living room of his Dingwell Park flat in the Tagnaven estate in Lurgan.

The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.

As Ward, from Drumellan Gardens in the Moyraverty area of Craigavon, was being led from the dock, he turned to the public gallery and verbally abused Mr Seeley's family.

During the six-week trial, the court heard from a neighbour of Mr Seeley's, who saw Ward in the Dingwell Park area on Sunday 11 October.

Gerry Byrne gave evidence last month, and said that when he spoke to Ward, he noticed blood on his hand.

Mr Byrne said Ward told him he had "hit Junior" and also spoke about blood coming from an ear.

'Severe degree of force'

Mr Seeley sustained multiple injuries in the attack including fatal head injuries which produced both swelling and bleeding to the brain.

He also sustained two fractured ribs, a fracture to a bone just above his voice box and a shoulder injury.

Other evidence which the Crown said proved Ward's guilt was a distinctive shoe pattern left at the murder scene. The shoe print came from a pair of size nine Base London shoes.

Footprints were located on an envelope beside Mr Seeley's body, on a belt, on several areas on the floor, and there was also a footprint on the victim's shirt that correlated with bruising to his underlying muscle, which a pathologist concluded was caused "by a severe degree of force... such as a stamp."

'Unanimously guilty'

It was the Crown's case that Ward - who wears size nine shoes - was seen in a police station for an unrelated matter the week of the murder wearing a pair of Base London shoes, which have never been recovered.

Ward chose not to give evidence at his trial, however, the jury heard that his version of events placed him at the scene on the night in question, but he denied killing Mr Seeley.

His version of events was rejected by the jury, who found Ward unanimously guilty of murder.

The judge said the tariff hearing, to determine how long Ward will spend in jail before he is considered eligible for release, will be held in August.

The judge said Mr Seeley's family had acted with "complete decorum."

"The family of the deceased, and others, are to be commended for the way in which they have conducted themselves throughout what must have been an extremely difficult trial for them to listen to," he said.

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