Belfast Telegraph

Family's horror at finding shin bone in crash victim's trousers

By Leona O'Neill

The heartbroken family of a Northern Ireland man who died in a horrific crash have told of their shock and anger after finding his shin bone still in his jeans after his belongings were returned by the gardai.

Kevin McClintock from Londonderry was one of two people killed in the accident in Co Donegal.

In October, an inquest into the death of the 32-year-old found that he was four-and-a-half times over the drink-driving limit when his car struck a vehicle being driven by Orla O'Reilly. The crash occurred at Newtowncunningham on November 13, 2015.

Both Mr McClintock and Ms O'Reilly, a 28-year-old youth worker, were killed instantly. Another man, John McBride, a passenger in Mr McClintock's car, was injured. He recovered but died suddenly earlier this year.

Mr McClintock's family have long disputed that Kevin was driving the car at the time of the crash and say that there is no forensic, witness or DNA evidence to say he was.

This week, they had Kevin's belongings returned to them and were shocked to find his shin bone still in the leg of the trousers he was wearing when he died.

His father Tony said that they were horrified and are planning to open Kevin's grave and place the bone in his coffin.

"After years of wrangling with gardai and being told that my son's belongings had been handed over to an undertaker at the border, which was nonsense, we finally got his stuff back last week," he said.

"We were told not to open the bag at the morgue but to bring it home. We sat around the kitchen table and opened it. It had things like his watch, his wallet and the clothes he was wearing.

"When we took out the jeans he was wearing when he died, there was a hard object in the leg. We thought it was a stick or something at first, but when we took it out it was clearly a large piece of bone.

"Horrified and upset doesn't even cover it. We are totally devastated.

"We're now going to open up his grave and put the bone in with him. It's horrific to think I have a piece of my son here with me. It has to be buried."

Kevin's sister Roisin Doherty (34) says the fact that her brother's bone was given back to them in a plastic bag shows "the disregard and disrespect the gardai had" for her brother's body.

"It was so upsetting to find my brother's bone in amongst his belongings," she said.

"My mum and dad are devastated enough at the loss of my brother. They are absolutely heartbroken.

"We have always said that Kevin wasn't the driver of the car but we have faced years of abuse from people calling us everything. And now this.

"To get my brother's bone back in a plastic bag just reflects the way the gardai treated him.

"It's proven all along that they had no respect towards us and they had no respect towards Kevin.

"It feels like we didn't matter, that he had drink taken and he didn't matter.

"It was bad enough that they left him laying face down on the road for hours.

"Kevin had four young children, they loved him. We loved him."

Roisin said the family have gone through "hell".

She added: "His life might not have mattered to anyone else, but it matters to us. We just can't get over this.

"We didn't get any answers at the inquest, we are still no further forward and now because of getting Kevin's belongings back, more questions have arisen.

"The coat that was cut off my brother's body was a blue Regatta one, witnesses said that the driver of the car was wearing a grey hoodie. We want the truth to come out. We want to clear Kevin's name and get closure for our family.

"These last few years have been hell."

A Garda spokesperson said: "An Garda Siochana are in contact with this family and dealing with all matters in relation to this investigation."

Belfast Telegraph

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