Belfast Telegraph

Killed because he tried to break up a fight

Teenage peace-maker dies following assault

By Adrian Rutherford and Tom Brady

A teenager who died after being violently attacked twice on a night out was set upon because he tried to break up a fight, witnesses have told PSNI investigators.

Police are expected to launch a murder investigation after post-mortem results showed Jason McGovern (19) died from head injuries consistent with an assault.

He had tried to act as a peacemaker in an altercation before being struck himself, and was then pursued and struck a second time two hours later.

It is believed Mr McGovern was punched at a pub at John Street in Omagh around midnight on Sunday and hit again two hours later outside a nightclub at Kevlin Road, a short distance away.

He managed to make his way to a friend’s house in Emyvale, Co Monaghan, where he was found dead just after midday on Monday.

It is understood the PSNI is closing in on the culprit and following a specific line of inquiry.

Detectives said they want to interview a man involved in an altercation with Mr McGovern. They described him as of stocky build with ginger or blond coloured hair.

Police will use CCTV in the two assault areas to determine exactly what happened and whether the attacks were carried out by one male or more.

The teenager’s grief-stricken parents Seamus and Kathleen and elder brothers Niall and Johnathan were making preparations for his funeral last night.

Mr McGovern, who was from Tydavnet in Co Monaghan, regularly cared for his seriously ill mother, who suffers from multiple sclerosis.

Local priest Fr Macartan McQuaid, who has spoken with friends and family members, said the community has been devastated by the tragedy.

According to Fr McQuaid, Mr McGovern was part of a group of around 20 who travelled from Emyvale to Omagh for a night out on Sunday.

“Some of his friends have suggested that an argument broke out and he tried to intervene as a peace-maker, but was struck on the head,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.

“It seems that as he headed to the bus later on, he was struck again.

“The person who was responsible for the assault was a stranger.”

Both the PSNI and Garda are investigating the incident.

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