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Coroner to push for release of HET report into Sean Brown’s murder

Sean Brown

Sean Brown

Coroner John Leckey has said he will push for the release of a report into the murder of Derry GAA official Sean Brown.

The development arose on Tuesday during a preliminary inquest into the abduction and killing of the Bellaghy man.

The family of Mr Brown, the Coroner’s Office and the legal team have been denied access to a Historical Enquiries team report which was finished last year.

Northern Ireland’s most senior coroner John Leckey told a solicitor representing the PSNI, that he would seek a High Court subpoena, ordering it to hand over the evidence.

The coroner told the court that the inquest date is set in stone - it is due to be held in January next year.

The 61-year-old father-of-six was abducted by an LVF gang as he routinely locked up the Wolfe Tones Gaelic Athletic Club in the South Derry village on May 12, 1997.

He was brutally shot six times in the head and his body was later found dumped beside his burnt out car in nearby Randalstown.

The solicitor Kevin Winters said the coroner’s comments were ‘a major breakthrough in the fight for justice for the family of Sean Brown.’

Also attending Tuesday’s hearing was Paul O’Connor from the Pat Finnucane Centre, who accused the PSNI of ‘dragging their heels’ for years.

In response, the PSNI said it is aware of the comments made by coroner John Leckey and is considering these in relation to the report.

The killing sent shockwaves through the community as Mr Brown was well-known and highly respected in the village among Protestants and Catholics.

Just weeks before the brutal slaying, William McCrea of the DUP lost his Mid-Ulster Westminster parliamentary seat to Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein.

At the election count Mr McCrea, who once shared a platform with loyalist leader Billy Wright, said nationalists in Mid-Ulster would ‘reap a bitter harvest.’ Following Mr Brown’s death, tributes were paid, including one from the late poet Seamus Heaney who also grew up in Bellaghy.

 

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