Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

UVF murders suspects could be called to inquest

Murdered: Kevin McKearney
Murdered: Kevin McKearney

Two people once suspected of the UVF murders of a man and his uncle more than 20 years ago could be called to give evidence at their inquest, a court has heard.

Kevin McKearney (32) and his uncle John McKearney (70) were shot in their family-owned butchers shop in Moy, Co Tyrone.

A UVF gunman burst into the business at closing time on January 3, 1992 and opened fire.

Kevin McKearney, a married father-of-four, was killed instantly. His uncle was injured and died three months later in hospital.

At a preliminary hearing ahead of the long-delayed inquest lawyers discussed what witnesses could potentially be called.

No one has ever been convicted of the murders, although one man did plead guilty to a conspiracy to murder charge in the mid-1990s.

Fiona Doherty, a lawyer for coroner John Leckey, said the names of two suspects had emerged in papers related to the case.

She told the coroner those individuals could be people he "may want to call to the inquest".

Karen Quinlivan QC, representing the McKearney family, indicated that calling of suspects as witnesses could be an option for the coroner.

But she acknowledged that not everyone arrested in connection with a crime necessarily continued to remain a suspect.

Mr Leckey, Northern Ireland's senior coroner, said a final witness list would be decided at a subsequent preliminary hearing.

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