Courts

Thursday 31 July 2014

Teen GAA star suspected of murdering father tried to strangle mum in past, court told

Adrian Rutherford

Published 09/01/2013|05:00

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Aloysius Hackett's son Sean
Aloysius 'Wishie' Hackett, who was found dead at his home in Tyrone
Forensic officers at the scene

A TEENAGE GAA star charged with his father's murder had previously tried to strangle his mother, a court has heard.

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Sean Hackett has been granted temporary release from prison to attend the funeral today of his father – despite opposition from police and the North's prosecution service.

He will be chaperoned by Tyrone boss Mickey Harte and his solicitor, Adrian O'Kane, throughout the Requiem Mass in Augher, Co Tyrone.

The 18-year-old – who captained the county's minor team last year – appeared in court yesterday charged with murdering his father, Aloysius Hackett.

The court heard how the accused, from Aghindarragh Road in Augher, had admitted to police that he shot his 60-year-old father at the family home on Friday night.

It was revealed Hackett had ordered the gun via a New Year's Day text message to a friend.

Police said they have been unable to establish a motive for the killing.

It has also emerged that the accused, who suffers from depression, had allegedly tried to strangle his mother three months earlier.

However, the court was told Hackett still has the love and support of his family and the community.

Family

Yesterday the High Court rejected an appeal against releasing Hackett for the funeral. The hearing was attended by family members and Mr Harte, who told the court he agreed to accompany the accused at all times.

"I have full intention of carrying that out to the letter of the law," Mr Harte said.

Aloysius Hackett was found dead at his home shortly before midnight last Friday.

Omagh Magistrates' Court heard that paramedics found him face up in the back yard. He was clutching the keys of a nearby vehicle.

Police found his son, Sean, at a neighbour's house. The teenager initially told officers that he had found his father's body after returning from a night out.

However, a member of the household later contacted police to say Sean wanted to speak to them.

"When he was spoken to, he said 'I did it, I shot him'," the officer told the court.

The court heard that Hackett had previously contacted a friend on two occasions via text message asking to borrow a gun.

The first was around late November or early December, but on this occasion it was returned. Then, on January 1, Hackett asked for the firearm again. He said the weapon would be returned by the following Monday.

Forensic tests indicate it was the weapon used in Mr Hackett's murder, the court heard.

The detective said that when arrested and searched, two spent shotgun cartridges had been found in the accused's pocket.

He was interviewed three times but did not speak, instead providing detectives with a prepared statement.

"It said he was involved in an incident that resulted in the death of his father whom he loved very much," the detective added.

His solicitor, Mr O'Kane, said it was "an absolute tragedy for everyone concerned".

Hackett's mother, Eilish, wept in court alongside her three other children as Mr O'Kane stressed that his client still had wide support.

"Sean Hackett will enjoy the full support of relatives, friends and the community," he added.

"He is a talented 18-year-old sportsman involved in everything in the local community."

Mr O'Kane said the family wanted to ensure Hackett was "properly cared for".

District judge Bernie Kelly agreed to a request for compassionate bail so that he could attend today's funeral.

Irish Independent

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