Guilty pleas to lesser charges accepted in Devlin murder trial

Only the very basic facts are provided in the BBC online report, and in the UTV version, on the trial of the five members of the Notorantonio family, Burns is apparently also related, charged with the murder of Gerard Devlin – which formed part of a pattern of long-running attacks in Ballymurphy.

On Wednesday morning Francisco Notorantonio, 21, pleaded guilty to manslaughter, affray and malicious wounding. His co-accused, Christopher Notorantonio, 56, Anthony Notorantonio, 50, William Notorantonio, 24, and Paul Burns, 26, pleaded guilty to affray. The prosecution accepted the pleas at Belfast Crown Court.

Not included are details like the refusal of bail prior to sentencing, the claims from the dock by the accused of being “political prisoners”, and of being “stitched up”, nor the anger of the family of Gerard Devlin at the apparent plea bargaining. One other point to note is that Francisco Notarantonio did not seek bail when initially charged on 7th September 2007. Adds Slightly updated BBC report. More in the Belfast Telegraph report.