Monday 25 March 2019

Macabre murder of 10-year-old boy will be re-opened

Alan Murray

A TEAM of detectives is to examine a claim that a man confessed to killing his 10-year-old brother in one of the most macabre killings during the Troubles in Belfast.

Detectives are expected to travel to England on Monday to interview William McDermott about claims that he murdered, burned and then dismembered the body of his brother Brian in 1973.

The discovery of Brian McDermott's torso in the River Lagan in September 1973 has remained the most mysterious and haunting death recorded during the 30-year terrorist campaigns, and terrified parents in Belfast.

Theories that the death was linked to a ritual performed by a satanic cult or a paedophile ring operating at the Kincora Boys Home in east Belfast were probed at the time after paramilitary involvement was ruled out.

But a sensational claim in an English courtroom last week has rekindled the police investigation.

Detectives will interview 50-year-old McDermott this week in prison, where he is serving a four-month sentence for threatening and abusing his ex-wife Sarah MacLeod. She told Worcester Magistrates Court that in 2003 when the Police Service of Northern Ireland conducted a 30-year review of the case, McDermott panicked and told her he killed his young brother.

She said the violent criminal feared the new probe would reveal his secret. In 2003, the PSNI did confirm detectives had arrested a man in England where McDermott lived, but nobody was charged with the murder.

Now detectives are expected to travel to England again to interview McDermott about his ex-wife's claims.

Miss McLeod met McDermott in 1997 and married him in 2002, but their relationship ended the following year.

McDermott, who has criminal convictions for grievous bodily harm, actual bodily harm and assault and battery, is serving the four-month sentence for sending threatening and abusive text messages and emails to his ex-wife.

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