Lisburn woman admits manslaughter of toddler son

PACEMAKER BELFAST   23/01/2015'Michelle Owens arrives at Lisburn Court on friday,  She  was ordered to stand trial accused of her three-year-old son's murder. The little boy died at his home on Trinity Terrace in the Tonagh area of Lisburn and it has been previously reported that when police were called to the house at 2.20am, the infant was already dead.   It is understood the autopsy findings were inconclusive and Ms Owens was not charged with her son's murder for two months, first appearing in court on 20 September 2013. 'Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 23/01/2015'Michelle Owens arrives at Lisburn Court on friday, She was ordered to stand trial accused of her three-year-old son's murder. The little boy died at his home on Trinity Terrace in the Tonagh area of Lisburn and it has been previously reported that when police were called to the house at 2.20am, the infant was already dead. It is understood the autopsy findings were inconclusive and Ms Owens was not charged with her son's murder for two months, first appearing in court on 20 September 2013. 'Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

A Lisburn woman has admitted the manslaughter of her three-year-old toddler son, who died two years ago in Tonagh.

Earlier this month Michelle Owens (28), from Trinity Terrace, pleaded not guilty to murdering Brendan Owens on July 3, 2013.

However, yesterday her defence counsel Mark Mulholland QC told Mr Justice Weir that he was making an application to have Ms Owens re-arrainged on the single charge of murder she faced.

Dressed in a black trouser suit and wearing a pink blouse, the mother walked into the dock of Belfast Crown Court flanked by two medical staff.

When the clerk of the court put the charge of murder to her, the defendant replied, “Not guilty to murder but I plead guilty to manslaughter.”

Crown counsel Ciaran Murphy QC said he was in receipt of three expert medical reports which had been completed following an assessment on Ms Owens which stated that the killing was carried out through diminished responsibility.

He told Mr Justice Weir, “Therefore the plea of manslaughter by way of diminished responsibility is accepted in satisfaction of the indictment.’’

No details surrounding the toddler’s death were outlined in court.

Following her guilty plea to manslaughter, Mr Justice Weir ordered a pre-sentence and adjourned sentencing until Friday, May 8.

Ms Owens was returned on bail to a secure psychiatric unit at Knockbracken Health Care park in south Belfast.