Man Sentenced For Murdering His Friend

An east Belfast man will spend a minimum of 10 years of a life sentence in prison for the murder of his friend last year.

30-year-old Kenneth Cowan of Titania Street, off the Cregagh Road, pled guilty last December to the murder of Brian Burke and was handed an automatic life sentence.

At a tariff hearing on Friday 01 January, Belfast Crown Court heard that Mr Cowan armed himself after a play fight with friends and stabbed the victim in the chest, causing his death on Sunday 08 April 2018.

A senior prosecution lawyer said the defendant stuck the 12cm knife in with "moderate force" and pierced both his lung and heart.

His defence counsel said that he "wished he could undo his actions of that night" and expressed "genuine remorse" for causing the death of his friend.

Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland handed Mr Cowan a minimum of 10 years in custody before he would be eligible for parole.
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Speaking about the sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Peter McKenna said: "This was a brutal murder and I welcome today's sentence. Brian was spending his evening relaxing, playing computer games and watching TV with friends when a play fight broke out between him and Kenneth. Kenneth saw red and he ran downstairs into the kitchen and grabbed a knife before returning and stabbing Brian straight in the chest. The blade punctured Brian's lung and penetrated his heart, leaving him little chance of survival. Brian was rushed to hospital but sadly died within the hour.

"Brian was just a young man in the prime of his life when he was the innocent victim of this attack. He should have been safe enjoying his evening with friends but Kenneth lost his temper and Brian paid the price for this with his life.

"Brian was a much loved friend and family member who helped out in his local jujutsu club and loved music, skateboarding and martial arts. Brian's life was brought to a brutal end and his mum Deena and two brothers Michael and John have been left devastated by the murder. Kenneth has shown no remorse for his actions and whilst he is now behind bars, nothing can ever ease the pain and loss that he has caused."


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