GAA star accused of shooting father had tried to kill mother, court hears

Hackett family members including Sean's mother Eilish and children, Aileen, Conor and Kevin arrive at Dungannon Court.

Hackett family members including Sean's mother Eilish and children, Aileen, Conor and Kevin arrive at Dungannon Court.

The former GAA football star who stands accused of blasting his father in the head with a hunting rifle also attempted to throttle his mother, his murder trial heard yesterday.

Dungannon Crown Court heard Tyrone teen Sean Hackett, who claims he was suffering from depression when he shot his 60-year-old father Aloysius, attacked his mother Eilis after breaking up with his one and only girlfriend.

Mrs Hackett wept as she relived the incident, which also occurred at their family home in Augher, Co Tyrone, about two months before the fatal shooting in January 2013.

However, she began by describing her son, 19, as “someone she was very proud of”.

In late October 2012 the mother-of-four said she noticed he had become very quiet, staying a lot in his room.

She told defence counsel Jim Gallagher QC Sean had started to go out with a girl from school, and they were never apart.

She recalled how one Sunday her son had begun to sob, telling her he had broken up with his girlfriend.

She added: “I was turning to go out of the garage when I felt a lead being thrown over my neck. I ran out of the garage door and Sean was saying ‘I didn’t mean it, I didn’t mean it’... He said he wanted me to go to heaven to look after him and granda.”

Her son’s grandfather had died some time before and Sean was very close to him.

I told him: ‘I don’t want to go to heaven. I want to stay here with youse.”

Asked yesterday if she believed her son coaxed her into the garage in a bid to kill her, she replied: “Yes.”

She said her husband made an appointment the following day with their family GP.

Mrs Hackett told the defence counsel the doctor said her son didn’t need medication but recommended that he see a counsellor, which he did.

She said on the evening of the shooting she was going to a GAA club ladies night and Sean was having dinner. Her husband was cooking a steak and everything was normal.

Later she got a phone call to say that “something dreadful” had happened at home.

The court heard she entered a bedroom where her son was being spoken to by a detective before being arrested for the murder of his father.

Prosecuting counsel Ciaran Murphy QC asked her: “Have you ever asked him straight out the reason why he killed your husband?”

She replied she had not.

Her son denies murdering his father and possessing the .22 Czech hunting rifle.

The case continues.


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