Page last updated at 18:22 GMT, Friday, 5 February 2010

Valliday guilty of Francis "Bap" McGreevy murder

Frank McGreevy
Frank McGreevy died several days after being attacked

A man has been found guilty of the murder of west Belfast man Frank "Bap" McGreevy at his home in March 2008.

Thomas Valliday, 22, from nearby Lady Street, had admitted fighting with the former IRA prisoner but claimed two other men had been behind his death.

The 51-year-old father-of-two was found brutally beaten in his flat in Ross Street. He died three days later.

Following the guilty verdict, a judge told Valliday that he faced a mandatory life sentence.

However, he told Valliday, who showed no emotion at the guilty verdict, that next month he will fix the minimum tariff he must serve before he can be considered for parole.

Just prior to the jury being called into court to deliver their verdict, Mr Justice Hart had warned that any "sound, disruption or incident whatsoever from the public gallery" would result in it being cleared immediately.

Initially one member of Mr McGreevy's family fled the court in tears as she covered her mouth with her hand to smother her cries.

After the judge and jury had left, a weeping Valliday's mother shouted out and had to be restrained by her husband who led her from the public gallery.

It had taken the jury of eight women and four men eight hours and 20 minutes over two days to unanimously convict Valliday at the end of a 15-day trial, throughout which he had maintained his innocence.

Brutal

The jury rejected his claim that he was incapable of such a brutal attack, although he admitted that at one stage he had punched Mr McGreevy.

In evidence, Valliday claimed he had no memory of attacking him and declared: "I can say bluntly I couldn't have done anything like that.

"I don't think I would be capable of doing anything like that."

However, the jury accepted the prosecution case that he was high on a cocktail of drink and drugs when he battered Mr McGreevy with a variety of possible weapons including a pick-axe handle and two brush shafts, one metal, the other wooden.

The trial heard that in the aftermath of the attack Valliday attacked two other men and two cars in the nearby Clonard area.

He gave himself up to police the following day after his father and uncle threatened to hold him for police if he refused.

However, during his interviews he changed his account from initially claiming he had just fought with Mr McGreevy outside his flat, to later finding him injured in the flat after seeing two men running from it.



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