Suicide case being investigated by Police Ombudsman

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THE circumstances surrounding the death of a man last known alive in Maghera is being investigated by the Police Ombudsman.

53-year-old Gerard Hampson from Northland Road in Derry had been drinking in a pub in Maghera on 29 November 2007.

Bridgeen Carlin, his daughter appealed for information on his movements. “That was the last time I was talking to him,” she said.

Mr Hampson was wanted by police for questioning and Bridgeen explained that he was planning to turn himself in. She reported her father missing a week later when she didn’t hear from him again.

On 9 January 2008, police recovered the naked body of Mr Hampson on the shores of Lough Neagh. His death was recorded as suicide, but his daughter is sceptical of the police conclusion as her father was terrified of water.

She voiced her frustration at how the PSNI investigated her father’s case.

“We couldn’t get any footage from cameras because police waited until he was dead to start their investigation and the tapes had been wiped,” she said.

“They received information he was left at Castledawson Roundabout and also at a bus stop in Maghera to get a bus. Things just don’t add up.”

After initially refusing the case, the man’s death is now being looked into by the Police Ombudsman after the Pat Finucane Centre intervened.

Speaking for the Pat Finucane Centre, Maggie O’Conor, caseworker said: “While this investigation is not yet complete, there may be people who know something about Gerry’s whereabouts and about who he was with between the end of November and the 9th of January 2008. The PFC supports the family appeal for anyone who may have any information, and especially anyone who was in phone contact with Gerard Hampson at the end of November to the beginning of December 2007 to come forward.”

The Ombudsman would not comment except to confirm they were investigating the police handling of the disappearance and death of the deceased. Anyone with information can contact either Paul Murphy at the Ombudsman’s office 08456012931 or 90828600 or Maggie O’Conor at the PFC 71268846.