Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Family sues on death

Trio in affray to face High Court

January last year are to face a High Court action by his family.

January last year are to face a High Court action by his family.

Writs claiming damages are to be issued soon against Matthew Gerard Rice (39), a builder's merchant of Granemore Road; Francis Charles Houlahan (25), unemployed of High Street; and John Gerard Lappin (25), unemployed of Rock Road.

This was disclosed after the men had been ordered to undertake a total of 450 hours community service in Armagh Crown Court yesterday on a charge of making an affray.

Rice was given 150 hours, Houlahan 130 and Lappin 170.

The partially naked body of Paul Oliver McGleenan (19), a son of local publican Francis McGleenan of Crossmore Green, was found on waste ground 40ft below a disused railway bridge near the town centre on January 2.

Initially the men were charged with murder and spent two months in prison on remand before getting bail. Later this was reduced to manslaughter.

When they appeared in the dock at Armagh Crown Court in February all pleaded not guilty and a jury was sworn in to try the case.

But the hearing was adjourned for two days before any evidence was called. On their next appearance the three were rearraigned and admitted the charge of making an affray.

Angered by the DPP's decision to drop the manslaughter charge the victim's parents, Francis and Pauline, boycotted the sentencing hearing.

Present in the crowded courtroom were four of their sons, Damien, Frankie, Cathal and Declan.

A petition signed by over 8,000 local people protesting over the DPP's action is to be submitted by the family's lawyer, Mr Kevin Winters, to the Lord Chancellor's Office.

Calling for an immediate inquest, the victim's eldest brother Damien said it was hoped this would help the family to discover the full circumstances surrounding Paul's death.

He said the family had put their complete trust in the courts, but this had proved to be totally misplaced.

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