Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane was shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries

A man accused of murdering a Belfast solicitor more than 15 years ago has pleaded guilty to the charge.

Ken Barrett, 41, entered the plea at the beginning of his trial in the Crown Court in Belfast on Monday.

At previous hearings, Barrett denied shooting Pat Finucane at his home in the north of the city in February 1989.

Barrett also admitted a charge of attempting to murder Mrs Finucane, stealing Army-owned weapons and membership of the Ulster Freedom Fighters.

Mr Finucane was shot dead by the loyalist Ulster Defence Association.

Barrett is the first person to be charged with the murder. He is expected to be sentenced on Friday.

Ken Barrett, centre, pictured arriving back into NI for questioning

A legal challenge over the government's failure to set up a public inquiry into Mr Finucane's murder was adjourned in June.

Mr Finucane's widow Geraldine is challenging the government's decision to delay a public inquiry, which was recommended by retired Canadian judge, Peter Cory.

Mr Cory was appointed by the British and Irish governments in 2001 to examine allegations of collusion surrounding some of the most controversial killings of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

However, the government decided to postpone a decision on establishing an inquiry into Mr Finucane's murder until all criminal proceedings are exhausted.

Sinn Fein have claimed that the British Government is using an investigation into the murder to block any such inquiry.

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