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Judge urges expert talks over mentally ill killer's legal case

By Alan Erwin

Published 17/09/2016

Sean Hackett
Sean Hackett
Aloysius Hackett

Psychiatrists may engage in talks in a bid to resolve legal action being taken by a former Tyrone GAA star jailed for shooting dead his father.

Sean Hackett is challenging alleged failures to provide medical treatment for his diagnosed delusional order.

But a High Court judge was told that one expert - who believes the 22-year-old harboured a secret need to kill either of his parents - had suggested discussions with colleagues in clinical disagreement.

Encouraging any talks that could find a solution, Mr Justice Maguire said: "This case cries out for serious, deliberate attempts to see if there's a path forward."

Hackett is serving a minimum seven-year sentence for the manslaughter of his father Aloysius in January 2013.

A jury found the young GAA star guilty on the grounds of diminished responsibility. The same jury acquitted the defendant of murder.

Hackett's father, a former chairman of St Macartan's GAC in Augher, was shot twice in the head in the driveway of the family home at Aghindarrah Road, Co Tyrone.

His son, who previously captained the county's minor GAA team, admitted carrying out the shooting, but he consistently denied murder.

At his trial it was set out how he had suffered depression in the preceding months, which was triggered by a split from his girlfriend.

In September last year he won his appeal against the original sentence of 10 years behind bars before he can be considered for release on licence.

Up to five psychiatrists backed the view that Hackett was in a delusional state of mind when he carried out the killing at the age of 18.

One of the experts who gave evidence at the appeal was Dr Carine Minne, who is based at the notorious high-security Broadmoor Hospital in Berkshire, England.

She told the court that Hackett suffered from one of the purest forms of delusional disorder she had ever encountered - with no other case like it in Northern Ireland.

Hackett remains a suicide and homicide risk while he is untreated, senior judges were told.

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