Sunday Life

Our son was murdered

05 September 2004

THE heartbroken family of an Ulsterman, who was found hanging from a tree in the United States, have stepped up their campaign to uncover the truth about his death.

Devastated Laurence and Philomena Guiney, from Newry, Co Down, are convinced their son Patrick was murdered, after his body was discovered in the Pearl River area of New York, on September 20, 2002.

His body had been found close to the same spot where his friend had been mugged, just hours earlier, and his family believe the incidents may be connected.

Authorities in the US claim the 22-year-old committed suicide.

But, his family say there are many "unanswered questions" about his death.

They have just launched a new website - www.patrickguiney.org - to highlight their campaign, and have also enlisted the help of the SDLP.

Although the bid to uncover the truth is being directed in America, the family has also appealed to people from the Bessbrook and Lurgan areas, in Co Armagh, for help.

Patrick's parents believe their son had been socialising with people from the two towns on the night of his death, and hope these people can provide further information about his last movements.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Patrick's godmother, Bronagh McVeigh, hopes the campaign will lead to his death being re-investigated.

She said: "Laurence and Philomena are - and will remain - convinced their son Patrick was murdered.

"Their campaign has been launched to have the case properly investigated, and this will remain their goal, until all the events surrounding Patrick's death are brought out into the open.

"The Guiney family does not accept the official view that Patrick hanged himself, and when their perceptions are closely examined, this is understandable.

"A considerable number of questions remain unanswered, and many questions regarding not only his death, but also the nature of the follow-on investigation have been asked, but not addressed.

"Patrick's family are devastated by his death and the only thing they are seeking is the truth."

SDLP MLA, PJ Bradley, who raised the issue during a visit to New York, last month, also appealed for help.

Added Mr Bradley: "This file should be re-opened immediately. How can there be no direct link between the mugging of Patrick's friend and his death, in a relatively crime free area?

"It would be so regrettable that an oversight admitted or not, could result in justice being denied to the parents and family and to the memory of Patrick.

"I have spoken with Patrick's parents, and on listening to their recollection of the young lad's character, his ambitions in life, his sporting goals and his general love for living, it is easy to understand their non-acceptance of the official view of his tragic death.

"I offer my total support to the Guiney family in their efforts to have a full and thorough inquiry carried out into the unexplained death of Patrick."

sbreen@belfast telegraph.co.uk

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