Northern Ireland news

Sean Brown's family make renewed call for inquest

Sean Brown was murdered by the LVF in May 1997
Connla Young

The son of a Co Derry GAA member murdered by the LVF has called on Secretary of State Karen Bradley to release funding for legacy inquests.

Damian Brown made the call after Ms Bradley revealed plans to hold a consultation into how the past should be handled.

His father Sean Brown (61) was murdered by loyalists 21 years ago today.

The Bellaghy Wolf Tones chairman was attacked and beaten by an LVF gang as he locked up at GAA grounds in his home village.

He was then put into the boot of his car and driven to a country lane outside Randalstown in Co Antrim where he was shot six times.

Over the years there has been more than 25 preliminary inquest hearings into his death but a date for a full inquest has yet to be set.

It has now emerged that in a letter to the PSNI in May 2006 former senior coroner John Leckey said that “as nine years have elapsed since the murder of Mr Brown I would be anxious to hold the inquest in the autumn”.

Since that month there have been another 22 preliminary hearings and Mr Leckey has retired from his post.

Dozens of letters have been sent and meetings connected to the case held over the past 21 years.

In the past campaigners have been critical PSNI delays in handing over documents relevant to the case.

Damian Brown last night urged Ms Bradley to act.

“If the announcement on the consultation is a new beginning then I would call on the Secretary of State as a sign of good faith to release the funding for the inquests with immediate effect,” he said.

Paul O'Connor from the Pat Finucane Centre said the continued delays are soul destroying.

“We are aware of no other case in the inquest system were there have been such lengthy and soul destroying delays as in the case of Sean Brown,” he said.

“With over 25 preliminary hearings and 35 files of documents already provided through discovery and yet there is still no date for a full inquest.”

A spokeswoman for the NIO said: "The UK Government has a manifesto commitment to support the reform of the legacy inquest system in ways that enable us to fulfil our international obligations.

"Inquests are, however, a devolved matter and it will be for a devolved administration to make a decision on funding. Any business case for additional funding received by the UK Government will be carefully considered on its own merits."

In July last year the Irish News revealed that several of the murder suspects were named in legal documents lodged with the High Court in Belfast.

They include dead LVF boss Mark ‘Swinger' Fulton, Portadown loyalist Muriel Gibson, half brothers who share the same name, Laurence ‘Duffer' Kincaid and Laurence ‘Larry' Kincaid and Roy Stewart.

Although not listed as a suspect, prominent Portadown loyalist Jim Fulton, a brother of Mark ‘Swinger' Fulton, is also referred to in the court papers.

Sean Brown inquest preliminary hearings held since 2006

04/05/2006 - Preliminary Hearing

16/05/2006 - Preliminary Hearing

25/01/2008 - Preliminary Hearing

16/12/2009 - Preliminary Hearing

18/01/2010 - Preliminary Hearing

26/03/2010 - Preliminary Hearing

14/04/2010 - Preliminary Hearing

01/05/2012 - Preliminary Hearing

26/06/2012 - Preliminary Hearing

05/09/2012 - Preliminary Hearing

30/01/2013 - Preliminary Hearing

03/01/2014 - Preliminary Hearing

15/01/2014 - Preliminary Hearing

19/03/2014 - Preliminary Hearing

06/05/2014 - Preliminary Hearing

17/09/2014 - Preliminary Hearing

07/01/2015 - Preliminary Hearing

09/01/2015 - Preliminary Hearing

15/01/2015 - Preliminary Hearing

12/02/2015 - Preliminary Hearing

17/04/2015 - Preliminary Hearing

19/01/2016 - Preliminary Hearing

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