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Irishman facing 37 years for NY killing

AN Irishman is facing up to 37 years in jail after admitting to the "brutal and senseless" killing of his ex-lover in New York.

Gary McGurk (24) pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Michelle Lee, a forensic investigator for police in New York.

Her naked body was found in a pool of blood at her apartment in April 2009. She had been bound, stabbed in the neck and seared with a hot iron.

McGurk, originally from the Carrickmore area of Tyrone, pleaded guilty at Queens Supreme Court in New York to first-degree manslaughter and tampering with evidence.

He faces between 29 and 37 years in jail when he is sentenced next month.

Queens District Attorney Richard A Brown said it was "a brutal and senseless crime that abruptly cut short the life of a talented young woman with a bright and promising future".

"His guilty plea not only ensures that he will serve a lengthy prison sentence for his actions, but it also spares the victim's family the emotional trauma of having to listen to testimony at trial about the gruesome circumstances surrounding Ms Lee's death," he added.

McGurk is the son of one of the two so-called IRA 'sleeping bombers' who were caught trying to blow up an Army patrol in 1981.

The family moved to America 14 years ago, and Gary McGurk met Ms Lee, who was 24, while studying forensics at college in New York.

Mr Brown said Ms Lee would have been proud of her colleagues in the crime laboratory who worked to apprehend her killer.

She was found dead at her third floor apartment in the Queens area of New York on April 27 last year.