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.
News Image
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."


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

15 May 2019
Man Dies In One-Vehicle Co Antrim Crash
A man has died following a road crash in County Antrim. The one-vehicle collision happened on the Roguery Road in Toomebridge on Tuesday evening, 14 May. PSNI Inspector McCarron said: "Police can confirm that a man has died following a one vehicle collision on the Roguery Road, Toomebridge last night. "At around 9.
14 May 2019
Man Reported To PPS In Ian Ogle Murder Investigation
A 37-year-old man has been reported to the Public Prosecution Service on suspicion of the murder of Ian Ogle. The 45-year-old was stabbed 11 times by a gang of men near his home in Cluan Place, east Belfast, on Sunday 27 January. The suspect had been arrested in February.
10 May 2019
Man Due In Court Charged With Ian Ogle's Murder
A man has been charged with the murder of Ian Ogle in east Belfast last January and is due in court today, Friday 10 May. Mr Ogle, 45, died after being stabbed 11 times near his home in Cluan Place on Sunday 27 January.
07 May 2019
Man Assaulted With Hammer In Lisburn Robbery
A 32-year-old man has been assaulted with a claw hammer during an aggravated burglary in Lisburn on Sunday, 05 May. The homeowner suffered lacerations to the head after three men gained entry to his flat in the Woodbrook Avenue area. He was later taken to hospital for treatment. Local police received a report of the break-in at approximately 11.
03 May 2019
Man Attacked By Masked Men Armed With Hammer
A man has required hospital treatment after he was beaten with a hammer during an aggravated burglary in Ahoghill, County Antrim. Police responded to the incident on Brook Street last night, Thursday 03 May at 11pm. Three masked men forced their way into the home and attacked the victim, a male aged in his 30s, who was home alone at the time.