Northern Ireland

Richard Scullion was battered and stabbed to death, court hears

Richard Gerard Scullion Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Richard Gerard Scullion, 55, was found dead at a house in Banbridge

A man murdered by a friend was "battered with a frying pan" and "stabbed to death", a court has heard.

David Robert Boyd, 29, of Scarva Walk, Banbridge, was given a life sentence for the murder of Richard Gerard Scullion, 55.

Mr Scullion died after an attack in his flat in 2018.

Boyd later described him as "kind" and "lovely", while the court also heard he was one of the only people to offer the defendant kindness and friendship.

Details of the attack emerged during a hearing to determine how long Boyd must spend in jail before being considered for parole.

A letter written by the Mr Scullion's mother, which was read out in court, described the victim as a "very friendly man and very popular with his many friends".

The details surrounding the fatal attack came from Boyd's confessions to police.

'I've had enough'

A prosecution lawyer said the two men had drunk alcohol, watched TV and listened to music in Mr Scullion's Millmount Court home.

"The mood appeared to change after a male called at the house and the deceased accused the defendant of bringing trouble to his door after the male left", said the prosecutor.

Mr Scullion then walked into his kitchen and, according to Boyd, turned around with clenched fists.

Boyd claimed he reacted to a perceived threat, lifted a frying pan and struck Mr Scullion on the head with it.

The lawyer said that as he lay on the floor, Boyd continued to punch and kick him.

At one stage Mr Scullion appeared to say "I've had enough", but Boyd then grabbed a knife, knelt on his body and stabbed him several times, the court heard.

'Isolated young man'

Mr Scullion's body was found on 9 July by a friend.

After Mr Scullion's body was discovered, police enquiries quickly led to Boyd, who was arrested on suspicion of murder hours later.

Initially he denied the charge but later confessed to the killing.

Boyd also admitted hiding the murder weapon - a 19.5cm-long black-handled kitchen knife - and disposing of his shirt and shoes near the River Bann.

The prosecutor welcomed his guilty plea and believed his remorse was genuine.

A defence lawyer described the killing as a tragedy compounded by the fact Mr Scullion was one of the few people to offer kindness and support to his client.

'Appreciates the harm caused'

The lawyer described Boyd as "an isolated young men" who grew up largely in foster care.

The barrister said the defendant had mental health issues and problems with drink and drugs as well as self-harm and anger issues.

Regarding the murder, the defence lawyer said that after confessing to the killing, Boyd told police: "He was a lovely, lovely man. When I was stuck, he would help me out. He would help anyone out. He would gave you his last penny if he had it."

The lawyer added: "It may come as little comfort to the family but he does appreciate the harm he caused to a man who was good and helpful to him.

The judge said he would decide on Boyd's tariff on 17 October.

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