Belfast Telegraph

Prayers for murder charge teenager as mourners pack church for father’s funeral

By Adrian Rutherford

Prayers were said for a teenager who allegedly killed his father as a grief-stricken community paid its final respects to Aloysius Hackett.

The 60-year-old was buried amid emotional scenes this week, five days after being found shot dead at his home near Augher in Co Tyrone.

His youngest son, Sean, has been charged with his murder.

Yesterday, the teenager, who captained the Tyrone minor Gaelic football team last season, was granted temporary release to attend the funeral.

Compassionate bail was granted in accordance with his family’s wishes.

He was chaperoned by Tyrone boss Mickey Harte and his solicitor Adrian O’Kane throughout his brief release, and did not speak to family members, as ordered by a court.

A placard of support had been placed outside a supermarket on the main road into the village ahead of his arrival.

It read: “We’re all thinking of you Sean”.

St Macartan’s Church, which overlooks the rural Augher countryside, was packed for the midday service, with many of the mourners spilling outside.

GAA officials helped direct the endless stream of traffic which navigated the narrow, twisting country roads leading to the church.

There was silence as the coffin was carried inside the chapel by relatives, including Mr Hackett’s two other sons, Kevin and Conor.

Draped on the coffin was an Augher GAA jersey.

Officials and players from St Macartan’s GAA club, which the family has strong links to, formed a guard of honour.

Pupils from St Ciaran’s High School in Ballygawley, where Sean previously attended, were also at the service.

Sean was absent from the family group which entered the church. He arrived separately and was swiftly escorted through a side entrance, away from the public view.

The club jersey, a football and a family portrait had been placed on the altar inside.

Chief celebrant Fr Michael McCaughey, a relative of the family, prayed for Mr Hackett’s wife, Eilish, and four children — including Sean.

He said no-one knew why the tragedy had occurred.

Fr McCaughey described Aloysius as a “GAA man” who made a major contribution to his local club both on and off the pitch.

He said the community had been stunned and saddened by the tragedy.

After the service, the family was escorted outside for a private burial service.

Other mourners were asked to remain inside the church.

Stewards formed a line to ensure their privacy was respected.

After the private burial service was finished, Sean was again escorted from the church out of public view, before being driven back to Hydebank Young Offenders’ Centre.

The death of Mr Hackett, a former chairman of Augher GFC, has stunned the rural Tyrone community.

Mr Hackett was found dead in the back yard of his home on the Aghindarragh Road shortly before midnight on Friday.

His son was arrested a short time later.

He initially denied involvement but later allegedly told police: “I did it. I shot him”.

The teenager appeared at Omagh Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, where it emerged he suffered from depression.

A separate court hearing was told the accused had allegedly tried to strangle his mother three months’ beforehand.

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