Gardaí wanted my father dead, Tribunal hears

Frank McBrearty Jnr told the Morris tribunal today that gardaí wanted his father “to die” while he was being questioned in a Garda station about the death of cattle dealer Richie Barron in 1996.

Frank McBrearty Jnr told the Morris tribunal today that gardaí wanted his father “to die” while he was being questioned in a Garda station about the death of cattle dealer Richie Barron in 1996.

McBrearty Jnr, who is representing himself at the inquiry, said that a doctor’s letter warning that Frank McBrearty Snr was “at risk of a massive stroke or a massive heart attack” was ignored at Letterkenny Garda Station in December 1996.

McBrearty Jnr said: “They didn’t care about the McBrearty family or if my father died in Letterkenny Garda Station.

“They were so desperate to get us framed for murder.

“But they knew the McBreartys would fight back. They did everything in their power to block us from clearing our name.

“They wanted my father to die in the barracks.”

McBrearty made the comments while cross examining witness Det Sgt Sylvie Henry on the 231st day of the inquiry into Garda corruption in the Donegal division during the 1990s.

Justice Frederick Morris is currently hearing evidence on the module relating to the investigation into cattle dealer Richie Barron’s death on a roadside in Raphoe in October 1996.

Mr McBrearty Jnr claimed that the letter from a hospital consultant warning that his father was “at risk of having a massive stroke or massive heart attack” was sent to Letterkenny Garda Station.

At the time Mr McBrearty Snr was being questioned in custody about alleged attempts to intimate witnesses in the Barren murder investigation.

The tribunal heard the letter was sent to Letterkenny Supt John J Fitzgerald and an copy was CC’d to Det Sgt Henry.

Det Sgt Henry said he took “immediate action” with the letter and showed it to senior officers in the station.

McBrearty claimed Det Sgt Henry should have taken the letter directly to the custody officer who was in charge of the welfare of the prisoner.

McBrearty Jnr added: “Under the regulations of the gardaí, (the prisoner) should have been released or taken to hospital.”

Det Sgt Henry replied he didn’t take it into the custody officer because it was a copied letter and “I didn’t realise he (the custody officer) hadn’t seen it until some time later.”

McBrearty claimed that this letter was “kept buried” for up to two years afterwards.

Det Sgt Henry replied: “I didn’t bury that letter.”

Earlier, the tribunal heard that a notebook discovered in a police informer’s bedroom has former Supt Kevin Lennon’s handwriting on several pages.

The inquiry heard that gardai identified that a number of pages in the Rhino brand notebook found on William Doherty’s bedside table had Lennon’s handwriting because of the particular way he wrote the letter ‘k’.

Cross-examining witness Det Sgt Sylvie Henry today, Lennon said he denied the claims and confronted investigation officer, Det Insp John McGinley on the matter.

At the time Lennon said he offered his fingerprints and an handwriting specimen to disprove the claims. “But I was told I was paranoid when I offered this,” he said.

Lennon said Det Insp McGinley said to him in Letterkenny Garda Station: “Your f*****g handwriting is in the notebook and you can’t deny it.”

According to Lennon, McGinley then made an allegation to Lennon that he was “involved” with Noel McBride – a local man who made incriminating statements against the McBrearty family but later withdrew them.

Lennon said he then replied: “In other words that I stitched up your already cocked-up investigation.”

Witness Det Sgt Henry told Justice Frederick Morris that he couldn’t remember this exchange even though he accepted he may have been in the room at the time.

Justice Morris said: “It’s a pretty dramatic thing to have two offices stuck in each other. Do you think it didn’t happen?

“It’s foreign to me sir, I cannot remember that,” Det Sgt Henry replied.

The witness then said that he made have left the room to replace the notebook in his personal garda locker.

Lennon said he could produce his original contemporaneous notes of the confrontation “and I’ll stand over them ‘til the day I die.

Lennon later said to the inquiry: “I was known for my upfrontness with members of the force. I was blunt in terms of telling them of what I expected. But at the same time 10 minutes afterwards I drank coffee with them.

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