independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Police not at fault over killing

Dr Michael Maguire concluded that no officer saw or was aware of an attack taking place near a west Belfast police station

A man was beaten to death just yards from a west Belfast police station, but officers on duty inside were unaware of it happening, a report has revealed.

The attack below an unmanned sangar lasted 26 seconds and was captured on two security cameras at Woodbourne.

But a Police Ombudsman's Office investigation into the death of father-of-eight Seamus Fox, 58, said the blame rested with the man who murdered him.

Dr Michael Maguire said: "There is no evidence any police officer on duty that morning should share this responsibility."

Mr Fox died from his injuries on waste ground about 10 metres from the station's perimeter fence in the early hours of April 22, 2010. He had been on his way to his home on Horn Road after playing darts at Donegal Celtic FC when he was attacked.

During a hearing at Belfast Crown Court where Gerard Connors, then aged 19, later pleaded guilty to the murder, the judge heard that Connors had been present at a fire reported earlier to the police.

According to a report released on Tuesday, Mr Fox's family told Ombudsman investigators they were concerned the attack was seen from inside the police station and officers failed to respond.

They also feared that had police attended the fire, then there was a strong likelihood the subsequent attack would never have happened.

Ombudsman staff spoke to officers on duty that night in the station, to members of the public who reported finding Mr Fox, a grandfather, and to those who reported the fire. They also viewed all the available video footage and examined relevant police documentation.

Dr Maguire concluded that no police officer saw or was aware of the attack taking place.

Press Association

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