Belfast Telegraph

Real IRA victim's family 'stunned' to learn of new suspect

By Donna Deeney

The family of a man murdered by the Real IRA say they were stunned to learn a PSNI officer had been unable to extradite a man suspected of the killing.

The family of Kieran Doherty said they had no idea there was a suspect in the murder until they heard the evidence at a preliminary inquest into his death.

Vincent Coyle, Mr Doherty's uncle and family spokesman, said they were delighted to discover that the investigation into his nephew's death was “still red hot”.

Kieran Doherty's stripped and bound body was discovered on the Braehead Road on the border between Londonderry and Donegal on February 2010.

The 31-year-old father-of-one had been shot twice in the head.

His inquest has now been postponed after a police officer revealed they have the name of a man they suspect of Mr Doherty's murder — but he is in another jurisdiction.

Vincent Coyle told the Belfast Telegraph the family were “stunned” by the police officer’s news.

He said: “We attended the preliminary hearing into Kieran's inquest in Belfast because there were a number of issues we wished to raise with the coroner, John Lecky, however we were not prepared for the news we heard from the police officer.

“We had no idea they had a suspect but we were delighted that the investigation into my nephew's murder is still red hot.

“Without wanting to jeopardise this investigation we understand that the man the PSNI want to speak to could be in the Republic but we were heartened to hear that the two police forces are working hand in glove. The officer asked Mr Lecky to delay the inquest because they had concerns that if the inquest went ahead before an arrest was made things could come out during the inquest that would be detrimental to the investigation.

“As a family we are more than happy to allow a police investigation to proceed unhindered and if that means the inquest is delayed, then so be it,” he added.

Among the issues Mr Doherty's family hoped to raise with the coroner was the appearance of a number of key security personnel who they say could throw light on the circumstances of his murder.

They also want Mr Lecky to be shown the findings of a report carried out by Lord Carlile, the government's independent adviser on the security forces.

Mr Lecky is to write to Secretary of State Theresa Villiers seeking details of the brief given to Lord Carlile and a copy of his report.

Mr Coyle said: “We received what amounted to a few sentences which we were told was Lord Carlile's report into Kieran's murder, but yesterday we heard the actual report is as thick as a phone book.

“Mr Lecky has requested a copy of the full report which we are very pleased about and even if we as a family do not get to see the full report we will accept Mr Lecky’s word on its content.”

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