GAA star not guilty of murdering father

Published Thursday, 06 March 2014
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Sean Hackett, the Co Tyrone teenager who shot his father dead, has been found not guilty of murder but was convicted of manslaughter.

GAA star not guilty of murdering father
Sean Hackett leaves Hydebank Wood Prison with and his solicitor (© Pacemaker)

A jury at Dungannon Crown Court on Thursday accepted arguments by Hackett's lawyers that he was mentally ill at the time of the killing.

They decided he wasn't guilty of murder on grounds of diminished responsibility.

The 19-year-old is the former captain of Tyrone GAA's minor football team. He led Tyrone to an Ulster minor title in 2012. But after breaking up with his girlfriend he began to experience emotional and mental health difficulties.

As his depression worsened he formed the idea of killing one of his parents, believing they would watch over him from heaven.

In October 2012 he tried to strangle his mother, but she struggled free. Three months later, however, his killing plan would be carried out.

On 4 January 2013, Sean Hackett's father Aloysius returned home from a night-time meeting at St Macartan's GAA Club in Augher.

But Sean Hackett was lying in wait at the rear of the family home on Aghindarragh Road.

As his 60-year-old father got out of his car, Hackett opened fire with a .22 hunting rifle. The victim was shot twice in the head and died at the scene.

As his father lay dying in a pool of blood, Hackett did not call an ambulance. Instead he picked up spent cartridge shells, hid the rifle in the boot of a car and drove away.

Initially he tried to suggest his father had been attacked by someone else, but within hours he confessed to relatives and was arrested.

At his two-week trial in Dungannon, Hackett declined to testify. But the court was told he fully accepted that he planned and executed the killing.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Chris in Tyrone wrote (292 days ago):
Iain from Belfast how about you keep that comment to yourself you idiot! People who have never had a mental condition know nothing about how people who do feel or think! Couldn't meet a nicer fella than Sean!
Iain in Belfast wrote (328 days ago):
Eileen, as Gerry correctly mentioned he shot, reloaded and shot again. Cold and calculated. Considering he had already tried to kill his mother. Hopefully he never see's the light of day.
eileen in fermanagh wrote (330 days ago):
Anyone in their right mind would know that for someone to kill her father thy have to be mentally and emotionally disturbed, it doesn't take a psychiatrist to tell us , relieved for the family that the trail is over, but seen hackett has to live with it, so happy to know that his family still love him, he needs their love and support now more than ever , let's hope he finds inner peace
Gerry in Derry wrote (330 days ago):
shooting, reloading and then shooting again isn't murder, what a wonderful justice system we can rely on ...
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