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Last Updated: Friday, 25 January 2008, 18:37 GMT
Court told of 1973 murder claim
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A court in England has been told that a Belfast man claimed he killed his 10-year-old brother.

Brian McDermott's body was found more than 30 years ago on the banks of the River Lagan in a case that horrfied Northern Ireland.

William McDermott, 50, told his ex-wife that he was the boy's killer, Worcester Magistrates Court heard.

He was sentenced to four months in prison after sending Sarah MacLeod abusive text messages and e-mails.

Prosecutors told district judge Bruce Morgan McDermott had confided in his former wife that he had murdered his brother, whose remains were found in 1973.

Miss MacLeod met McDermott in 1997 and married in 2002.

In March 2003 the relationship broke down and divorce proceedings began.

Through a statement read to the court, Miss MacLeod said:

"Prior to us splitting up was the 30th anniversary of his brother's death. He had been murdered in Belfast when he was 10.

"The police reopened the case in 2003. Mr McDermott was panicking that the case was being reopened, while the rest of the family were pleased.

"Mr McDermott then confided in me that he had murdered his brother. I then told the police."

After the divorce was finalised Miss MacLeod began receiving text messages from McDermott.

The first, sent two days after he was ordered to pay his ex-wife 19,000, read: "You will forever be looking over your shoulder".

In the second, he said: "Till death do us part. I wonder who will die first".

Brian McDermott lived in Well Street in the lower Woodstock Road area of east Belfast.

He was last seen playing alone in a playground in Ormeau Park and failed to return for Sunday dinner.

Extensive searches and a missing person campaign followed but it was not until the River Lagan was lowered that a sack containing some of Brian's remains were discovered on the river bed.

Where Brian McDermott's body was found in 1973

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