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Sinn Féin call for robust response to murder failings

12 September, 2017 - by Linda Dillon

Sinn Féin has called for robust measures to prevent any repeat of the failings which enabled a prolific and abusive criminal to murder his ex-partner and a friend three days after being released from custody.

The party’s victims spokesperson was commenting after the Police Ombudsman strongly criticised the PSNI’s contact with Sean Hegarty in relation to the murders of Caron Smyth and Finbar McGrillen who were beaten to death by Hegarty and another man in 2013.

Linda Dillon said:

“Sean Hegarty is a man with a known history of horrific violence against women. Three days before he carried out this appalling murder, he had been arrested after Caron Smyth told police he had imprisoned her, hit her with a metal bar and threatened to kill her. Despite the clear threat he posed, Hegarty was released from custody and went on to take two lives.

“He should not have been on the streets and there were glaring failings in how the PSNI handled this case. The outcome of those failings was horrendous and our thoughts are with the families of both victims who will be living with that for their rest of their lives.

“There is nothing the police can do now to repair that damage but what they must do is take the Ombudsman’s findings on board. We will be seeking assurance from the Chief Constable that the recommendations are implemented and ensure robust measures are put in place to prevent this ever happening again.” 

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