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Tyrone boss Harte backs killer to 'reclaim his life'

By Staff Reporter

Published 15/09/2015

Sean Hackett (left) with Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte
Sean Hackett (left) with Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte
Sean Hackett’s mother Eilis arrives at the High Court yesterday
Shot: Aloysius Hackett

Tyrone GAA boss Mickey Harte has said a young player who shot his father dead will be able to "reclaim his life now" after his sentence was reduced by three years.

Senior judges ruled yesterday that former Tyrone GAA star Sean Hackett should serve seven years instead of 10 before he can be considered for release on licence.

Backing fresh medical evidence that the 21-year-old is suffering from a delusional disorder, they held that his culpability for killing Aloysius Hackett was not as high as suggested at trial.

During Hackett's trial last year, Mr Harte described the teenager as "a very quite, unassuming, lovely young gentleman... very warm and very caring".

Mr Harte said he had his "eye on him" as a future senior county player and that Hackett, both as a club and county footballer had a "lot to look forward to".

Hackett had previously captained the Tyrone Minor GAA team.

Last night, Mr Harte, who visited the accused several times in prison, said Hackett should get the help he needs.

"This will certainly be a relief for this young man and for his family.

"It will offer him every opportunity, I think, to reclaim his life now and you would hope that he will be able to do that now with the proper help that he might get," he said.

"It is now a question of him being able to get that help.

"He has been in detention up until now if you like, and I think that his legal team will be happy that he is in a position now to seek assistance to work through the situation in which he finds himself."

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan said yesterday the Department of Justice should urgently consider making a prison transfer to ensure Hackett is treated for his condition with "appropriate psychotherapy".

Hackett was challenging the life sentence with a minimum 10-year tariff imposed for the manslaughter of his father Aloysius at the family home near Augher, Co Tyrone in January 2013.

A jury found him guilty last year on the grounds of diminished responsibility after acquitting him of murder.

Aloysius Hackett, a former chairman of St Macartan's GAC in Augher, was shot twice in the head on the driveway of his Aghindarrah Road home.

His son Sean admitted carrying out the shooting but consistently denied murder.

At his trial it was set out how he had suffered depression in the preceding months, triggered by a split from his girlfriend.

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