independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Father murder accused 'depressed'

Sean Hackett, with his face covered, is led from Omagh Magistrates' Court

A young Gaelic football star accused of murdering his father with a gun he obtained by texting a friend claims he suffers from depression, a court has heard.

A detective told Omagh Magistrates' Court that Sean Hackett, 18, initially denied involvement in the death of his 60-year-old father Aloysius, but later admitted: "I did it, I shot him."

The father-of-four was found dead in the back yard of the family home near Auger, Co Tyrone, late last Friday night.

A defence lawyer told judge Bernie Kelly that the accused - last season's captain of the Tyrone gaelic football minor team - still had the full support and love of his mother Eilish, sister Aileen and two brothers Kevin and Conor, all of whom were in court for the remand hearing.

Ms Kelly granted the accused compassionate bail to attend his father's funeral under the strict condition that he is chaperoned by two volunteers, one of whom will be Tyrone GAA boss Mickey Harte.

His mother wept on a number of occasions in the public gallery. At one stage she and her children exchanged waves with the defendant in the dock.

The detective, who said she could connect Hackett to the charge, said that after initially telling police he found his father dead after coming back from a night out, the teenager later admitted shooting him. After that confession Hackett remained silent for three subsequent days of questioning, she said.

He instead submitted a written statement to police in which he admitted involvement in an "incident" which resulted in the death of his father, a man he "loved very much", the officer said. He also informed police that he has depression, she said.

Judge Kelly refused a standard bail application but granted compassionate bail for a number of hours to enable the accused to attend the requiem mass in Augher.

The Public Prosecution Service lodged an appeal against the judge's decision. Later at the Northern Ireland High Court, Mr Justice Horner rejected the appeal by the PPS.

Press Association

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