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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 January, 2005, 11:58 GMT
Uncle murder conviction quashed
The victim's house
The victim was stabbed in his home near Comber
A County Down man jailed for life for murdering an uncle who he said sexually abused him as a child has had his conviction quashed.

A re-trial has been ordered in the case of Thomas McQuade, 32, of the West Winds Estate, Newtownards.

He was jailed for killing Joseph McQuade, who was found stabbed to death at his Ballygowan home in October 2001.

The Appeal Court heard Mr McQuade's mental and psychological state was not considered during his original trial.

Mr McQuade had handed himself over to police after stabbing his uncle at his house on the Magherascouse Road, outside Ballygowan.

The murder trial in March 2003 heard how Mr McQuade had gone to his uncle's home armed with a knife, after being "sent over the edge" by a radio report about a paedophile case.

After stabbing his uncle 11 times, he went to the police with the blood stained knife and admitted what he had done.

He was sentenced to a minimum of eleven years in prison.

The Appeal Court ruled on Wednesday that during his trial, the jury had been denied the opportunity to consider whether the accused suffered from a mental abnormality.

The Appeal Court judges said this made the murder conviction unsafe.

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


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