Published Thursday, 06 September 2012
The attempted robbery occurred in west Belfast in November 2010. (© UTV)
Appearing in the dock of Belfast Crown Court on Thursday, lawyers for Darren Valliday-Smyth asked for him to be re-arraigned.
The accused then pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of 75-year-old Samuel Crawford on 1 November, 2010.
The have-a-go-hero suffered a heart attack as he tried to stop Valliday-Smyth from fleeing McGovern's newsagents on Cavendish Street after he tried to rob the premises.
Valliday-Smyth, from Clonard Place in Belfast, was due to go on trial for the killing next week but he had already pleaded guilty to offences of attempted robbery and possessing a weapon, namely a cannister of CS gas on the same date.
On Thursday, defence QC Gavan Duffy said Valliday-Smyth had decided to change his plea after consultations - but that the issue in the case was still the same, the medical causation of the pensioner's death.
Remanding Valliday-Smyth back into custody and adjourning passing sentence until a date to be fixed, Judge Tom Burgess ordered probation pre-sentence reports as well as victim impact reports.