Northern Ireland

Suspected murder victim Damien Heagney 'feared he was going to be killed'

Damien Heagney
Damien Heagney Damien Heagney

SUSPECTED murder victim Damien Heagney feared he was going to be killed in the weeks before he disappeared.

The 47-year-old was reported missing on July 19 - almost seven months after the last reported sighting of him.

Mr Heagney was last seen in the Dromore area of Co Tyrone on December 31.

While Mr Heagney had an address in Cookstown in recent years, he was originally from the Dunamore area, which is located several miles outside the town.

It has now emerged he had spoken of his fear that his life was under threat and had been living out of his car in the weeks before his disappearance.

Police this week confirmed they have recovered his vehicle, a grey BMW, which is currently being examined.

The Irish News can also reveal that a bench warrant was issued for his arrest in June after he failed to show up at court to answer an assault charge.

While Mr Heagney was known to police, sources last night suggested that he had also came to the attention of republicans in the east Tyrone area in the past.

It is claimed he was 'arrested' by the IRA in the late 1990s after an allegation was made arising from a serious incident in the wider Coalisland area.

It is understood he was ordered to leave Tyrone and later surfaced in the south Derry area.

On Wednesday a police dive team found partial human remains after carrying out a search at a reservoir near Cappagh in Co Tyrone.

Police are now working to establish the identity of the remains while divers continued the search yesterday.

Earlier this week it was confirmed that three properties have been searched, two in the Cookstown area and one in Dromore, as part of the investigation into his disappearance. Items were taken away for further examination.

A 50-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder after a property was searched in the Cookstown area last Saturday. He was later released on bail pending further enquiries.

It has now emerged that Mr Heagney was facing an assault charge.

He is alleged to have assaulted a man in February last year. The Court Service last night confirmed that a bench warrant was issued after he failed to appear at Dungannon Magistrates Court in June.

The Irish News understands he had also failed to show up at previous hearings.