Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

GAA star Sean Hackett's father screamed 'no' as he was blasted in driveway ambush, court hears

Former Tyrone minor captain Sean Hackett
Former Tyrone minor captain Sean Hackett

A young GAA player who blasted his father twice in the head with a hunting rifle heard him scream out as he ambushed him in the dark, a murder trial has heard.

The trial of former Tyrone minor captain Sean Hackett (19) yesterday heard details of how the footballer lay in wait for his 60-year-old father Aloysius and then shot him twice in the head.

He said he fired the second shot despite hearing his father scream and seeing him jolt back in pain, the court heard.

A clinical psychologist told the court that Hackett was suffering from diminished responsibility when he blasted his father – believing the death would solve all that was wrong in his depressed and troubled teenage life.

He believed that by killing his father he had become his guardian in Heaven and this would resolve his unhappiness, the court heard.

Dungannon Crown Court was also told the teenager thought of shooting his mother Eilish in the hours before killing his father.

Leading consultant forensic clinical psychologist Dr Philip Pollock told the trial that when Hackett pulled the trigger on the .22 Czech-made rifle – after laying in wait for his father to return to their Aghindarrah Road home in Augher – he was suffering from a recognised mental abnormality absolving him of murder.

The former footballer has always admitted killing his father as he returned home from a GAA meeting on January 4 last year, but denies murdering him or possessing the hunting rifle used.

Dr Pollock revealed that the teenager's plan initially involved shooting either one of his parents and that the idea had been developed over a period of time.

During two sessions with the doctor in Hydebank detention centre, Hackett told how he had rehearsed and practised using the rifle, picking the best sniper position from which to open fire.

Dr Pollock also revealed that on the day of the shooting, Hackett had harboured thoughts of killing his mother. The teenager tried to pick out the ideal spot from which to fire and kill her as she returned from work, but he couldn't bring himself to shoot.

Finally, he planned to shoot his father on his return home from a GAA meeting, and armed himself with the rifle, taking "a handful" of bullets along as he waited in the driveway.

As he waited for his father's car to come the teenager crouched behind his brother's car.

Hackett told Dr Pollock he believed he shot his father three times as he picked the house keys out from a flower pot.

His father "jolted back a bit... he screamed, a shout of pain, it scared me a bit". Nevertheless, he explained to the doctor that he moved forward, shooting him again, and heard a final scream from his father of "no".

Hackett, the court heard, even thought of turning the gun on himself, but decided against it.

As he thought of what to do next, he said he knelt to take his father's hand, and on feeling how cold it was began to say "sorry" and mouthed a "couple of prayers" over his dead body.

The trial continues.

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