Lorimer family confused by decision for no inquest into manslaughter

Andrew Lorimer
Andrew Lorimer

A Lurgan man says he is confused by the decision not to hold an inquest into his brother’s manslaughter – and is determined to know “exactly what happened”.

Despite explanations from the coroner, PSNI and police ombudsman, UUP MLA Jo-Anne Dobson still says the absence of an inquest is “very unusual”.

Andrew Lorimer was found dead in his Lurgan flat in February 2012 after suffering a savage beating. In November, two of his killers were jailed for five years, while a third man got four.

The assailants rang police after the attack and told them to look for a man who had been beaten up at Portlec Place, where Mr Lorimer’s flat was.

Police checked the area but did not find anything untoward. Mr Lorimer’s remains were found some time later by a burglar.

But his brother Paul is anxious over the fact that a decision was taken not to hold an inquest. And he is concerned that while police say the term “paramilitary” was mentioned in the 999 call, the ombudsman says it was not.

“The police asked me did we want an inquest and I said we did,” Paul said.

“But it never happened. I want an inquest to find out exactly what happened about the whole affair.”

A spokeswoman for the Lord Chief Justice explained that Coroners Service had asked the PSNI family liaison officer to speak to the Lorimer family “to seek their views on whether they wanted an inquest”.

“The reply was that the family did want an inquest,” she said.

“However the senior coroner listened to the recording of the sentencing hearing and concluded that there was sufficient information provided to the Crown Court about how, when and why Mr Lorimer died and that an inquest was not necessary.”

The PSNI said the decision to hold an inquest lies with the coroner and that the case “has been dealt with in a criminal court”.

The spokeswoman added: “There is nothing further to add at this stage.”

A spokesman for the police ombudsman said that when their investigators listened to a recording of the 999 call “they did not hear the word ‘paramilitaries’ being used”.

He added that the ombudsman has offered to meet the family again to deal with their questions.

Ms Dobson is supporting Mr Lorimer’s campaign.

“It is very unusual that the coroner decided not to hold an inquest in a case like this, regardless of what the views of the family were on the matter,” she said.