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Last Updated: Monday, 22 March, 2004, 18:56 GMT
Uncle murder sentence appealed
The victim's house
The victim was stabbed in his home near Comber
A man who stabbed his uncle to death claiming he had been sexually abused by him as a child has begun an appeal against his murder conviction.

Thomas McQuade, 33, from Newtownards was sentenced to life in 2003 for the murder of Joseph McQuade.

He handed himself over to police after stabbing the 59-year-old in October 2001.

The victim's body was found at his home on the Magherascouse Road near Comber in County Down. He had been stabbed several times.

At the Appeal Court on Monday, McQuade's defence outlined the grounds for his appeal.

It was agreed at his trial that he had a serious personality disorder, but the appeal hinges on whether his mental condition was caused by sexual abuse.

His defence team told the court that because of a conflict over psychiatric evidence, the "appalling" situation had arisen that a man "had been convicted of murder when there was a reasonable doubt".

Campaigners who support McQuade's appeal have collected 4,000 signatures as part of their attempt to have his sentence reduced.

The judges said there were "difficult issues to reflect on" in this case and said they would announce their judgement at a later date.


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