Allegations of homosexuality were ‘attempt to blacken’ victim’s name

Andrew Lorimer. INLM0612-931con
Andrew Lorimer. INLM0612-931con

Allegations that Andrew Lorimer had homosexual tendencies were an ‘attempt to blacken his character’ Belfast Crown Court heard last week during a plea by three men accused of his manslaughter.

A ‘hapless and defenceless’ Mr Lorimer was bludgeoned with a hammer in his flat at Portlec Place in Lurgan last year.

Christopher Wright (22), Richard Chester (23) and James Jordan (20) all pleaded guilty to Mr Lorimer’s manslaughter.

Crown counsel Terence Mooney QC told trial judge Mr Justice Weir that around 10.40pm on the night of February 3, 2012, police received a 999 call. The caller stated: “Mourneview estate. Portlec Place. Man just been beaten to f**k. Get there. Paramilitaries.”

He said that police carried out an initial search of the area but were unable to find anyone.

However, two days later around 10am on Sunday, February 5, the Ambulance Service received a call saying a man was “badly beaten’’ in flat 5a Portlec Place. He was found by a burglar who was subsequently sentenced for ransacking the flat.

Police and paramedics attended the scene and found Mr Lorimer.

The court heard it was obvious to them the victim was already dead and rigor mortis had already set in.

A post mortem examination on the victim revealed that he had sustained a large number of blows to his body including nine fractured ribs, including four which had broken in two. The victim, a separated father-of-one, also suffered a punctured and collapsed lung which eventually led to his death.

A pathologist said that the Mr Lorimer had sustained “blunt force trauma’’ to his body, possibly from feet.

Wright, of Mount Zion House, Chester, of no fixed address and Jordan, of Princess Street, all in Lurgan, were later arrested and questioned by police, said Mr Mooney.

They claimed that they were waiting for a friend Richard McVeigh at the flats when Mr Lorimer came out and invited them in.

The defendants told police that Mr Lorimer had put on pornographic film on television and then touched Jordan “on his ass”.

It was then that Wright punched Mr Lorimer in the face and a hammer was brought in from the kitchen which was used to assault the victim.

However, Mr Mooney said there was “no foundation’’ to their claim that Mr Lorimer had homosexual tendancies. “This was an attempt to blacken his character and he is not here to defend himself.’’