A man described as "a father figure" to a County Armagh baby boy changed his plea and admitted murdering him just as a trial was set to begin.
Sharyar Ali, aged 34 and of Westenra Terrace, Monaghan, pleaded guilty to the charge yesterday at Newry Crown Court.
Ali was due to go on trial yesterday in Newry Crown Court for the murder of Hunter Patrick McGleenon in November 2019.
When the charge was read out, Ali replied with one word - "Guilty".
Hunter Patrick was just 11 months old at the time of his death.
Mr Justice McFarland said this automatically brought a life sentence, and adjourned the case until the 15th of June, when the minimum term Ali is to serve will be decided.
When first arrested, Detective Sergeant James Brannigan explained Ali had been in a relationship with the child's mother for around a year, residing with her in Keady, despite being married to a businesswoman in Manchester.
She owned a phone shop in Monaghan where he worked.
On the morning of the 26th of November 2019, an ambulance was called as Hunter wasn't breathing.
He was taken to hospital but pronounced dead, and a post-mortem revealed a significant head injury deemed "non-accidental trauma."
As Hunter was in Ali's care since the previous evening, he was arrested.
During interview, Mr Ali claimed the baby woke around 6am and at some point, fell onto a concrete floor, striking his head.
Ali claimed he gave the child CPR then placed him in a cold shower which "seemed to revive him".
He put the child back in his cot and returned to bed himself, sleeping until around 9.30.
Ali claimed to have looked in on Hunter and saw that his lips were blue.
Hunter's mother had spent the night with her grandmother, a short distance away.
Ali drove Hunter there, informing the mother he wasn't breathing properly.
Police enquiries established while Ali was in charge of Hunter, he had driven to a Dundalk casino, remaining there for over two hours, while the child was left alone in the car.
Later, he drove to Monaghan to collect post, allegedly leaving Hunter alone in the house.
Throughout the course of multiple interviews, Ali gave conflicting accounts of his movements.
Questions were also raised over his marriage, despite being in a relationship with Hunter's mother for around a year.
There were queries around whether Ali had taken part in a sham marriage "for immigration purposes", as it was disclosed he is facing deportation proceedings in the Republic of Ireland and did not have permission to remain in the UK.