Belfast Telegraph

Jury deadlocked in Tyrone man killer punch trial

By Michael Donnelly

The jury in the case of a Co Tyrone man accused of killing a teenager from the Republic has failed to reach a verdict.

Mark Donnelly (22) had been accused of the manslaughter of 19-year-old Co Monaghan teenager Jason McGovern.

Mr McGovern was found dead in the Co Monaghan home of a friend after the attack on New Year's Eve 2012. A post-mortem later revealed he had a fractured skull and died from bleeding on the brain.

The Dungannon Crown Court jury of six men and four women deliberated for more than four hours, over two days, before returning to tell Judge Stephen Fowler QC that they reached a stalemate which could not be resolved with further time.

They had been asked if they had reached a verdict on which at least nine of them could agree, but the foreman replied no.

There were gasps in the public gallery from the families of Donnelly and Mr McGovern, who was from Tydavnet.

A decision over whether a retrial will take place is expected today.

Former motocross ace Donnelly, from Greencastle outside Omagh, was released on continuing bail.

During his six-day trial, Donnelly claimed that he was innocent, wrongly identified by a flawed witness as being the man who threw the killer punch which ultimately led to Mr McGovern's death hours later.

However, prosecutors claimed this was "a big lie" and Donnelly was a manipulative liar who could not face up to the responsibility for the teenager's death.

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