Son in court over father's murder
A young Gaelic football star accused of murdering his father with a gun he obtained by texting a friend claims he suffers from depression, a court has heard.
A detective told Omagh Magistrates Court that Sean Hackett (18) initially denied involvement in the death of his 60-year-old father Aloysius, but later admitted: “I did it, I shot him”.
The father-of-four was found dead lying in the back yard of the family home near Auger, Co Tyrone late last Friday night.
A defence lawyer told judge Bernie Kelly that the accused — last season’s captain of the Tyrone gaelic football minor team — still had the full support and love of his mother Eilish, sister Aileen and two brothers Kevin and Conor, all of whom were in court for the remand hearing.
Ms Kelly granted the accused compassionate bail to attend his father’s funeral under the strict condition that he is chaperoned by two volunteers, one of whom will be Tyrone GAA boss Mickey Harte.
His mother wept on a number of occasions in the public gallery. At one stage she and her children exchanged waves with the defendant in the dock.
The detective, who said she could connect Mr Hackett to the charge, said that after initially telling police he found his father dead after coming back from a night out, the teenager later admitted shooting him.
After that confession Mr Hackett remained silent for three subsequent days of questioning, she said.
He instead submitted a written statement to police in which he admitted involvement in an “incident” which resulted in the death of his father, a man he “loved very much”, the officer said. He also informed police that he has depression, she said.
Police have been unable to establish a motive, the detective said. “We aren’t aware of why this happened,” she said.
Judge Kelly refused a standard bail application but granted compassionate bail for a number of hours to enable the accused to attend the requiem mass in Augher.
Mr Hackett has to be chaperoned by his lawyer Adrian O’Kane and Mr Harte, and will not be allowed to speak to anyone else including family members. The Public Prosecution Service lodged an appeal against the judge’s decision.
During the hearing Mr Hackett, dressed in a blue and white striped shirt and blue jeans, spoke only to acknowledge that he understood the charge against him. He listened intently throughout, occasionally glancing at his family in the public gallery.
Like his son, Mr Hackett, known as Wishie, was heavily involved in the GAA community and was a former chairman of St Macartan’s club in Augher.
The court heard that he was found lying face up in the back yard of the family home at Aghindarragh Road shortly before midnight last Friday. The detective said the door of a nearby vehicle was open and he was still holding the keys in his hand.
Police first spoke to the accused at a neighbour’s house.
The detective said Mr Hackett told officers he had come back from a night out and found his father in the yard.
Later on that night police were called by a member of the household and were asked that they speak to Sean again, she said. “When he was later spoken to he said ‘I did it, I shot him’,” the officer told the court.
In the period before the shooting the defendant twice texted a friend asking to borrow a gun, the detective claimed.
The first occasion was in late November/early December and the second was on New Year’s Day. The second time, Mr Hackett told his friend he would have it back to him by the following Monday, the detective said.
Forensic tests have since been carried out on the shotgun. “Police believe that was the weapon used,” the detective told the court.