Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

McKearney murders: Coroner rejects inquest security concerns

Murdered: Kevin McKearney
Murdered: Kevin McKearney

A long-delayed inquest into the loyalist murder of an uncle and his nephew near Dungannon will be held in the Co Tyrone town, despite the PSNI's security concerns.

Police had flagged up issues around anonymity and the placing of potential witnesses behind screens if the scheduled three-week probe into the deaths of John McKearney (70) and Kevin McKearney (32) was not held in Belfast.

But relatives of the dead men had urged Northern Ireland Senior Coroner John Leckey to hold the inquest, which is scheduled for October, at the venue closest to the family's butcher shop in Moy, where the UVF shooting happened in 1992.

Lawyer for Mr Leckey, Fiona Doherty, said: "Submissions have been made by the next-of-kin to the effect that the inquest should be held at the location closest to the scene."

Mr Leckey, who also decided to hold the inquest without a jury, said he could find "no problem" that would prevent the hearing taking place in Dungannon courthouse and stressed the courtroom best suited for placing witnesses behind screens would be used.

"I hope you realise that I would be really, really keen that the inquest proceeded on the 6th of October and there would have to be a good reason why the inquest does not proceed on that date," he said.

The men were killed after a gunman burst into the business at closing time and opened fire. Kevin, a married father-of-four, was killed instantly. His uncle was fatally injured and died three months later in hospital.

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