No inquest date for ‘despicable’ murder

Sean Brown murdered in 1997.
Sean Brown murdered in 1997.

RELATIVES of a South Derry man killed in a “despicable” murder still do not know when a full inquest into his death will happen.

Preliminary inquest hearings were heard into two 1997 murder cases, the first of which was that of Bellaghy GAA official Sean Patrick Brown (61), murdered by loyalist paramilitaries in May that year.

Coroner John Leckey branded that killing “one of the most despicable murders that occurred in Northern Ireland”. There have been a number of investigations into the death –including an ongoing one by the Historic Enquiries Team (HET). But his family want the HET report to be published before a full inquest begins.

The coroner heard it was expected to have been ready by close of 2012 – but now it may not be until the end of this year. And outside court, one HET investigator said there was no guarantee it would happen then either, “because you don’t know what’s going to get thrown up”.

However, the court heard the PSNI’s Legacy Support Unit (LSU) will release around 40 boxes of documents this week so the family’s solicitors can begin preparing the case before the HET report arrives.

The LSU also agreed to provide documents to solicitors acting in the case of IRA man Seamus Dillon (45), shot by loyalists at the Glengannon Hotel, Dungannon, in December 1997.

Kevin Winters, acting for both families, could not put any timing on the inquest into Mr Brown’s death –but said the other inquest may be ready in about a year.