Belfast Telegraph

Teen who shot father is 'wicked, not mentally ill', court told

BY ADRIAN RUTHERFORD

A former Tyrone Minor GAA player who shot his father dead is a wicked, manipulative killer who meticulously planned and executed the "slaughter", a court has heard.

A prosecution lawyer claimed that, in carrying out the killing, Sean Hackett had acted brutally and selfishly to get over whatever upset he had in his life.

But a defence barrister insisted the teenager was suffering from an abnormality of mental functioning, and that it would be an "injustice" to convict him of murder.

Jim Gallagher QC told jurors they did not need to be psychiatrists to understand there was something "badly wrong" in Hackett's head when he shot his father Aloysius. He argued it was a clear case of diminished responsibility, adding that a manslaughter verdict would be the most just outcome.

The conflicting arguments came as the prosecution and defence lawyers made their closing submissions before the jury retires to consider its verdict.

Hackett admits shooting dead his 60-year-old father with a high-velocity rifle outside the family home near Augher last January. But the 19-year-old, an ex-captain of Tyrone Minor team, denies murder.

The case has been described as one of the most extraordinary to ever come before a criminal court.

In his closing speech, prosecuting counsel Ciaran Murphy QC said Hackett "couldn't have been more deadly" with the .22-calibre rifle he borrowed from a friend. He said Hackett opted to shoot his father in the head.

Mr Murphy said the case "cries out" for an explanation but the accused opted not to give evidence.

Hackett previously told police he was involved in "an incident" which resulted in the death of his father, and that he was suffering from depression.

However, Mr Murphy told jurors: "It wasn't an incident, it was the slaughter of his father, planned and executed meticulously."

However, in his closing remarks, Mr Gallagher said "common sense" suggested Hackett's mind wasn't functioning normally.

During the trial experts had given conflicting accounts about Hackett's mental state.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph