McGovern murder inquiry starts
Police in Northern Ireland are now treating the death of a teenager on New Year’s Eve as murder.
Jason McGovern (19) from Tydavnet, Co Monaghan, died after he was assaulted twice during a night out in Omagh, Co Tyrone, on Sunday.
The PSNI detective leading the investigation said postmortem examination results revealed the teenager died from a head injury.
Det chief inspector Richard Harkness said: “This is an assault that had no apparent motive other than young men out on a night out and fuelled by alcohol.”
Mr McGovern, who cared for his mother who suffers from multiple sclerosis, was injured after being punched at a bar on John Street in Omagh. He was then assaulted for a second time outside a nightclub on the Kevlin Road.
It is understood Mr McGovern may have been trying to break-up a fight.
It is understood that Mr McGovern had travelled to Omagh by taxi with a group of friends but the group became separated during the evening.
Shortly before 2am, Mr McGovern and a friend were outside the Terrace Bar where there was an altercation with a gang of five men. Punches were thrown and Mr McGovern was struck several times in the head and upper body.
He and his friend then moved away, along Kevlin Road towards a taxi which was waiting outside the Weigh Inn. They were followed by at least three of the five men and in the Weigh Inn car park, Mr McGovern was struck once more in the face. He collapsed to the ground and had to be helped into the taxi by two other men who were not involved in the row.
He managed to make his way to a friend’s house in the village of Emyvale, Co Monaghan. His body was found just after midday on New Year’s Eve.
The murder investigation is being led by the PSNI and supported by gardaí.
Det Harkness appealed for taxi drivers and motorists at the Weigh Inn car park, Omagh, to come forward. He was especially keen to speak to two middle-aged men who helped Mr McGovern into his taxi with his friend after the assault. The men are not linked to the assault.
“I have a specific appeal, and that is to any pedestrians or motorists who were in the area of the Terrace Bar of Sally O’Brien’s nightclub at approximately 1.55am and witnessed the assault and the people involved in it, or the two males who were at Kevlin Road and assisted Mr McGovern to his feet and helped get him into the taxi. I need those people to come forward and speak to me," Mr Harkness said.
“There is some CCTV in that area; however, I need to establish what took place and what was said between the assailants and the victim.”
The PSNI are keen to speak to a man of stocky build with ginger or blond-coloured hair as part of their inquiries.
The detective also made a direct appeal to those involved in the attack. “Don’t delay, come forward. There are two sides to every story. I want to establish the facts," he said.
“If you were involved, come forward to detectives in Omagh and we will interview you to establish the facts," he said.