Belfast Telegraph

Inquest halted as new probe launched into killing of biker

By Claire Williamson

A new investigation is to be launched after new evidence was produced in the unsolved case of a biker who died after suffering head injuries while staying in a caravan park.

A preliminary inquest into the death of James Patrick McGuaran has been told a full hearing will now not be held until the new evidence is reviewed by the Public Prosecution Service.

No one has ever been charged over the death of the 41-year-old who was found with fatal head injuries in a sleeping bag beside a caravan six years ago.

It is believed the racing fan, from Kestrel Grange in Dunmurry, was attacked while staying overnight at the park. He was found by a passer-by and rushed to hospital where he later died.

A preliminary hearing, held at Mays Chamber in Belfast, was yesterday given an update.

Mr McGuaran was with a group of bikers returning from the North West 200 races when they decided to spend the night at Castle Archdale caravan park in Fermanagh on Sunday, May 18, 2008.

After he was found with serious injuries, he was rushed to the Erne Hospital, where he died two days later. A post-mortem examination revealed the cause of death to be a traumatic brain injury which was associated with a fractured skull and pneumonia. A murder inquiry was launched

A 35-year-old man was arrested and questioned over several days but was released without charge pending further police inquiries.

A month later officers from the PSNI searched the caravan park as part of a follow-up operation into the killing.

Mr McGuaran's inquest was arranged for next month, but yesterday's preliminary hearing saw the inquest adjourned so the case could be referred back to the PPS for further review.

Speaking outside the court, Jonathan Connolly, a barrister acting on behalf of the McGuaran family, said the evidence was contained in a second pathologist report requested by Mr McGuaran's sister Ann and carried out by Dr Derek Carson.

Mr Connolly told the Belfast court that it would be "required to be referred to the PPS in light of a review of evidence as it stands".

Coroner Jim Kitson highlighted the role of the court and said: "I will refer this matter onwards and we will see what comes from that process, if anything.

"I will send a report of today's proceedings and a copy of Dr Carson's report. Suffice to say the case stands adjourned."

BACKGROUND

James Patrick McGuaran (41) was found by a passer-by with fatal injuries in a sleeping bag beside a caravan in Fermanagh. He had been seriously assaulted and suffered a major head wound. He later died in hospital. Mr McGuaran was among a group of bikers returning from the North West 200 races when they decided to spend the night at Castle Archdale caravan park in Fermanagh. A murder inquiry was launched but no one was charged with any offence.

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