Portglenone man admits murdering his partner in her Ballymena home

Murder scene in Ballymena
Murder scene in Ballymena

A 41-year old Portglenone man was jailed for life on Wednesday after he finally admitted the murder of his partner in her Ballymena home last summer.

Denise Dunlop, a 32-year old mother of two, was killed in her Centuripe Avenue home last June.

Richard McAuley.

Richard McAuley.

Mr Justice Weir told her killer, Richard McAuley, as he had no doubt been advised, the law permitted only one penalty for murder, and that was life imprisonment.

However, Mr Justice Weir also told McAuley, from Townhill Road in Portglenone, that a tariff would be set later indicating when he may become eligible for release by the Parole Commissioners.

Unemployed McAuley, initially entered a ‘not guilty’ plea last January when first arraigned, accused of murdering Ms Dunlop on a date between June 13 and 16, 2014.

However, following a request from defence QC Laurence McCrudden, the murder charge was put of McAuley again during the brief hearing at Antrim Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, and this time, replied: “Guilty.”

McAuley initially entered a ‘not guilty’ plea last January when first arraigned

Although no details of the stabbing were outlined to the court, it is understood that Ms Dunlop was stabbed in her home in the early hours of Father’s Day last year.

Denise Dunlop.

Denise Dunlop.