Belfast Telegraph

Search your consciences, pleads priest as killers of teenager are urged to turn themselves in

By Adrian Rutherford

The killers of a young man who died after being attacked on a night out have been urged to come forward.

It came as police confirmed they were treating Jason McGovern’s death as a murder inquiry.

The 19-year-old died from serious head injuries sustained in two assaults in Omagh.

It is understood that Mr McGovern, from Tydavnet in Co Monaghan, was trying to break up a fight when he was set upon.

Yesterday the detective in charge of the investigation made a direct appeal to the gang responsible to contact police.

DCI Richard Harkness said: “Don’t delay, come forward. There are two sides to every story. I want to establish the facts.”

The family’s parish priest, Fr Hubert Martin, also urged the killers to “search their consciences”.

The PSNI, aided by Monaghan gardai, is trawling through camera footage from Omagh town centre. Yesterday detectives revealed new details about the minutes leading up to the fatal attack early on Monday morning.

Police said that shortly before 2am, Mr McGovern and a friend were outside the Terrace Bar at John Street when they encountered a group of five men.

A verbal exchange occurred and punches were thrown, with Mr McGovern struck several times on the head and upper body.

The group moved down Kevlin Road to a taxi which was waiting at the Weigh Inn, but were followed by at least three of the gang.

In the car park, Mr McGovern was confronted and struck again in the face, collapsing to the ground. He was assisted into the taxi by two men who were not part of either fracas.

After returning to his friend’s house in Emyvale, Mr McGovern, a student at Sligo IT, went to bed but was found dead the following morning.

A post-mortem examination showed he died from a serious head injury from the assaults.

DCI Harkness appealed for the two men who assisted Mr McGovern to his feet and helped him into the taxi to come forward.

“I need to establish what took place and what was said between the assailants and the victim,” he added.

The PSNI said gardai are assisting in the investigation and are keeping the family informed.

They have appealed for information about a man in his mid-20s, about 5ft 4ins in height and of a stocky build. He was wearing a white T-shirt and was involved in the incident at the Weigh Inn.

Anyone with information can contact detectives in Omagh on 0845 600 8000, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Background

Police have said Jason McGovern’s death is consistent with the so-called one-punch fatalities that have claimed the lives of 20 people across Northern Ireland since 2004. It came just days after the PSNI publicised a campaign highlighting the risks of getting involved in an argument or fight. According to police, the majority of incidents are fuelled by alcohol.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph