Mum still loves son who killed his father and tried to strangle her
Published 07/03/2014 | 02:30
THE heartbroken mother of a Tyrone GAA star told him she loved him after he was convicted of killing his father – but cleared of murder.
A jury unanimously found Sean Hackett guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility.
The 12-person panel deliberated for more than two hours before delivering their verdict amid emotional scenes at Dungannon Crown Court.
As the 19-year-old was led from the dock, Ms Hackett whispered: "I love you".
Hackett, a former captain of the Tyrone minor team, had always admitted shooting his father, Aloysius, twice in the head outside the family home near Augher.
However, despite also admitting that he intended to kill the 60-year-old, he denied murder.
The case has been described as one of the most extraordinary ever to come before a criminal court in the North. At its heart was the issue of Hackett's mental state at the time he carried out the shooting.
The trial previously heard how the teenager became depressed after splitting with his girlfriend in summer 2012.
He became fixated on the idea that killing one of his parents would solve whatever issues he was facing at the time.
In late October 2012 – 10 weeks before he shot his father dead – Hackett tried to strangle his mother with a television cable.
He told her he wanted her to be in heaven watching over him.
This was rejected by prosecution lawyers – and by a psychiatrist – who argued Hackett was not mentally ill.
However, defence counsel Jim Gallagher had urged jurors not to be "blinded" by expert evidence, adding that anyone could see that something in Hackett's head was "badly wrong".