Police Ombudsman to oversee destruction of DNA samples In Co. Tyrone murder case

Published Date: 10.01.2005

The Police Ombudsman's Office is to offer its support to the police in their bid to identify the person who murdered a Co. Tyrone pensioner and brutally assaulted his sister.

The Police Ombudsman, Mrs Nuala O'Loan, said her office had agreed to a request from the PSNI to oversee the destruction of all DNA samples given to police in connection with the case, as well as all records relating to them.

Police believe 76-year-old Mr Patrick McGrath was suffocated while still in bed after an intruder broke into his home on the Mountjoy Road, in the Killeen area of Coalisland in the early hours of 19 December 2004. The intruder then seriously sexually assaulted and beat Mr McGrath's sister, Ms Philomena McGrath (67), who was left for dead with severe head injuries and a number of broken bones. Ms McGrath is now recovering after her ordeal.

As part of their investigation into the case, the police are to carry out a voluntary screening process of men aged between 14 and 40 in the Killeen area, aimed at eliminating them from the enquiry.

Mrs O'Loan said her office had offered its support in order to encourage people to provide samples and aid in the hunt for the killer.

"This was a horrific and cowardly attack on two highly-respected members of the local community, which led to a very tragic death. I am pleased that in this case we are able to assist the efforts to bring the perpetrator to justice," said Mrs O'Loan.

"There has been a suggestion that some people may be deterred from taking part in the screening programme because of a fear of what will happen to their DNA samples.

"I have now agreed that my office, which is entirely independent of the police, will oversee the destruction of all samples that are not relevant to this case. We will also ensure that all records, computer or otherwise, of these samples are destroyed.

"I hope that local people will assist the police in their enquiries so that the person responsible for these heinous crimes can be brought to justice," added Mrs O'Loan.


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