Family of Jason McGovern devastated at his loss

Family of Jason McGovern devastated at his loss

DETECTIVES probing the murder of Jason McGovern have charged five suspects on Friday night.

All of the accused have been charged with affray.

They are are due to appear at Omagh Magistrates Court on Saturday morning, January 5.

A 21-year-old was arrested on Friday over the attack which led to Mr McGovern’s death.

A 19-year-old teenager was arrested in Omagh on Thursday evening.

Hours earlier, a 17-year-old youth was also arrested in the town.

The pair are now in custody along with an 18-year-old who was arrested on Wednesday by  detectives from the PSNI’s Major Investigation Team.

A 21-year-old, who was also arrested on Wednesday, was released from police custody on Thursday afternoon.

A  murder inquiry was launched on Wedneday following the results of a post mortem examination on New Year’s Day.

The results showed that the death of the 19-year-old was due to a blow his head.

A joint inquiry is underway as detectives from the PSNI’s MIT to gather evidence of the assault in Omagh, Co Tyrone.

The PSNI investigation is being lead by Detective Chief Inspector Ricky Harkness who has appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

Officers are studying CCTV footage from the town centre and from local shops.

Jason McGovern of Tydavnet, County Monaghan, was found dead at a house in the village of Mullan, Emyvale, Monaghan, on New Year’s Eve.

Detectives investigating his death believe he was first punched at a pub on John Street, Omagh, at midnight, while out with a friend. It followed a verbal altercation with up to five men.

Two hours later he was hit a nightclub at Kevlin Road around 2 am. He was helped into a taxi by two older men.

DCI Ricky Harkness appeals for information

DCI Ricky Harkness appeals for information

Said DCI Harkness: “We would appeal to anyone who witnessed the assault in John Street or the assault at Kevlin Road to come forward.

“We would particularly like for the two men who helped the victim into the taxi to come forward and speak to detectives.”

Parish Priest Canon McCartan McQuaid said of Jason’s heartbroken family: “They are covered with a dark cloud of grief and a great sense of loss.

“Jason was the youngest boy in the family and he was a lovely young fellow.

“He was the sort of son any parent would love to have.”

Canon McQuaid said Jason was an “exemplar of all that is good and noble in the lives of young people”.

“Knowing him and talking to young people who were his friends, you would conclude that he would be the last person in the world to initiate any kind of fight,” he added.

It is understood that following the second attack the teenager made his way to a friend’s house where he was found dead just after midday on New Year’s Eve.

The priest said the teenager had been a very thoughtful son.

“His mother is very ill with multiple sclerosis (MS), and has been for the past four or five years,” he said.

“His grandmother is an elderly lady and Jason would have driven his grandmother to church every Saturday evening.

“Indeed she was telling me that if he was going for a spin somewhere he might ring her up and say ‘gran would you like to come, get out of the house for a while?’

“That was his nature. He was very caring.”

Canon McQuaid said Jason, a student at Sligo IT, was one of the first people he got to know when he came to the parish three years ago.

“He was very outgoing, very pleasant and a regular church goer,” he said.

“He was involved in his church as an altar server, and later on became a reader of God’s word and a Minister of the Eucharist, which is very major involvement for a young person of 19.

“Jason also had a great sense of humour, would be very jovial, quick to banter and enjoyed the craic.

“He had a very wide circle of friends and they are very grief stricken at the moment too, and I suppose, mystified and puzzled as to why something like this should happen to a nice young fella like Jason.

“It is just a deep tragedy.”

A PSNI spokesman said: “Police in Omagh have launched a murder inquiry into the death of Jason McGovern.

“Detectives believe that the deceased was assaulted by a male of stocky build with ginger or blond-coloured hair and would urge this male to contact them in Omagh to assist with their inquiries.”

The murder comes just a short time after the PSNI’s Detective Chief Inspector Karen Baxter launched a ‘One Punch’ initiative.

DCI Karen Baxter launches One Punch initiative

DCI Karen Baxter launches One Punch initiative

Said the DCI: “December is traditionally a busy month for local nightclubs and restaurants with revellers celebrating the festivities.

“However, One Punch attacks can and do happen.

“Our figures show that since 2004, 20 people have died as a result of One Punch attacks and many more have been seriously injured.

“With just One Punch, lives have been destroyed and families’ lives have been wrecked.“

“Unfortunately the majority of these incidents are fuelled by excessive alcohol and can have a devastating impact on the victim and their family.

“In such cases the offender will likely face a murder or manslaughter charge and have a criminal record for the rest of their life.

“This type of conviction can impose significant restrictions on an individual’s future.”

Detective Chief Inspector Baxter added: “Raising awareness now of the dangers of One Punch is important, as many people will be out socialising in the run-up to New Year Celebrations and most students and young people are off for their Christmas Break.

“Our message is to enjoy your night out, but more importantly – Stay Safe.”


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