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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 April, 2005, 18:11 GMT 19:11 UK
Nephew admits killing his uncle
Joseph McQuade, 59, was stabbed at his home in Ballygowan
Joseph McQuade, 59, was stabbed at his home in Ballygowan
A County Down man who admitted stabbing his uncle 11 times has been found not guilty of his murder.

Thomas McQuade, 34, who has a severe personality disorder, said he had been subjected to years of childhood sexual abuse by his uncle Joseph McQuade.

Joseph McQuade, 59, was stabbed at his home in Ballygowan in 2001.

His nephew Thomas, of Shackleton Walk in Newtownards, pleaded guilty to manslaughter. He will be sentenced at a later date.

At Thomas McQuade's original trial in January 2003, the jury failed to reach a verdict but at his second trial in April that year he was found guilty of murder.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment, but that conviction was overturned in January 2005 and a retrial ordered.

It began last week and after just an hour of deliberations on Wednesday, the jury returned the not guilty verdict.

Call for change

The judge deferred sentencing on the manslaughter charge.

He said sentencing would be difficult as he had to balance Mr McQuade's background of sexual abuse and mental problems against the fact he had carried out a cruel killing.

Outside the court, McQuade's father, also Thomas, said justice had been done.

"My son, Tom, shouldn't have been in jail in the first place," he said.

Mr McQuade told the police in 1993 that his uncle had abused him.

His claims were investigated, but there was no prosecution.

Campaigners said the case highlighted the need for changes in the judicial system.

Liz Johnston, of the Breaking the Silence group said: "If he had been listened to all those years ago, medical evidence was there.

"All the evidence was there, but nobody took any notice."

Uncle murder conviction quashed
12 Jan 05 |  Northern Ireland
Uncle murder sentence appealed
22 Mar 04 |  Northern Ireland
Life sentence for killing uncle
28 Apr 03 |  Northern Ireland
Man charged with uncle's murder
21 Oct 01 |  Northern Ireland

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