Convicted killer cleared of murdering his brother but pleads guilty to attacking him days before his death

A Lancaster man who had previously been jailed for killing his childhood friend has pleaded guilty to attacking his own brother who died suddenly two days later.

Monday, 18th January 2021, 11:38 am
Updated Monday, 18th January 2021, 12:13 pm

Kieran Cuffe, 48, of Dunkeld Street, Lancaster was accused of murdering his brother last year, but the murder charge was dropped at court in December.

He had admitted to attacking his younger brother, Seamus Cuffe, near Barclays Bank in Lancaster city centre on September 5, and he was subsequently arrested two days later following his brother's sudden death at home in Chestnut Grove on September 7.

Following a police investigation and after consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service, Kieran Cuffe was charged with his brother's murder.

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Kieran Cuffe has pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of assault and will be sentenced on February 18. Pic: Lancashire Police

A post-mortem examination was carried out but the cause of death could not be confirmed.

After further examination of pathological evidence, it was determined that Kieran's attack on his brother could not be proven to be the cause of his death.

At Preston Crown Court on December 18, the murder charge was formally withdrawn and replaced with a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Kieran Cuffe has pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of assault and will be sentenced on February 18.

Lancashire Police said a formal investigation into Seamus Cuffe's death will now proceed to an inquest where a coroner will try and determine the exact cause.

Prior to his brother's death, Kieran Cuffe had recently been released from prison after serving nearly four years for killing his childhood friend John Houston in 2016.

The then 43-year-old had been arrested on suspicion of murder after it was discovered that he had been involved in an altercation with Mr Houston just days before his death.

He admitted punching his friend twice in the head, causing catastrophic facial injuries to Mr Houston, who was found dead at his home in Laburnum Grove, Lancaster days later.

A post mortem examination showed he had suffered a broken nose and fractured cheekbone and had died from aspiration of blood and haemorrhaging.

Cuffe admitted killing his friend but the prosecution accepted Cuffe’s plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter when he appeared in court.

He was jailed for four years and eight months but was released early in 2016.