Northern Ireland

Callin Wilson faces life sentence for killing Syrian man

Hazem Ahmed Ghreir Image copyright Ghreir family
Image caption The victim Hazem Ahmed Ghreir was in his 30s and originally from Syria

A 20-year-old man has been told he will face a life sentence for killing a Syrian man in Belfast.

Hazem Ahmed Ghreir was stabbed to death in Downshire Place in the Great Victoria Street area, shortly before 23:00 BST on 4 June 2017.

On Thursday, Callin Wilson, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to murdering Mr Ghreir.

A judge said the only sentence she could pass "is life imprisonment".

She added that once she had all the relevant information in the case, she would determine the minimum term Wilson must serve before being considered for release.

Wilson was about to go on trial for the stabbing.

The trial had been listed for a possible start on Thursday, when a defence lawyer asked for Wilson to be rearraigned on the first count, that of murder.

Wilson replied "guilty".

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The attack happened in Downshire Place in the Great Victoria Street area of Belfast

In court for Wilson's guilty plea was Mr Ghreir's brother, who he had shared a flat with in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, since he left Syria and came to live in Northern Ireland.

The judge said she wished "to convey my sincere regret regarding the death of your brother and the manner in which he met his death".

No racial motive

Two other charges of possessing a knife in a public place and stealing Mr Ghreir's mobile phone, were "left on the books" on application by a prosecuting lawyer.

At the time police ruled out a racial motive for the attack.

It is understood Wilson stabbed Mr Ghreir once in the chest when confronted by him near a fast-food company.

Wilson, a former student, was 18 at the time of the stabbing, and living in sheltered accommodation in north Belfast.

He has been remanded back into custody, with the case listed for plea and sentence at the beginning of March once probation and other social enquiry reports are completed.

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