Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Police still questioning three teens over pensioner's murder

POLICE investigating the murder of an Omagh pensioner after an apparent burglary have been continuing to question three teenagers over the killing.

Two of the suspects have been in police custody since Sunday when they were arrested in connection with the death of 78-year-old Francis O’Neill.

The retired health worker was found dead at his ground floor flat on Saturday. Police are treating his death as murder.

Mr O’Neill had three children and three grandchildren and was well-known and respected throughout the Omagh community.

On Monday, police were given a further 36 hours to question an 18-year-old and 16-year-old arrested on Sunday.

A third person, aged 15, was arrested in Belfast on Monday and also remains in custody.

The retired nurse’s family have been left “perplexed” by his death, a local councillor said yesterday.

SDLP councillor Josephine Deehan has spoken to Mr O’Neill’s daughter, Mary, and said the family had been left in a state of shock.

“This has all been very distressing for them,” she said.

“They are very perplexed and it seems they haven’t been given a lot of information.

“She told me they had been watching the television and saw their father’s house come on the news. They couldn’t believe it was their family that was being talked about.

“They went round to his home, saw the TV crews and reporters outside, and just drove away.

“They are grieving and they are just not ready to speak.”

Detectives launched a murder inquiry following the results of a post-mortem carried out on Mr O’Neill’s body on Sunday.

Further details of his injuries and the circumstances of his death have not yet been released by police for “investigative reasons”.

Details of Mr O’Neill’s funeral arrangements have not yet been released either. Detectives are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

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