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Dublin: 17 °C Saturday 21 September, 2019

Siblings of man who was killed by his tenant take action over inquest into his death

Thomas O’Gorman was killed between 11 January and 12 January 2014 at his home in Castleknock.

File photo of a picture of the late Tom O'Gorman.
File photo of a picture of the late Tom O'Gorman.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE SIBLINGS OF a landlord brutally killed by his tenant have launched a High Court challenge against a coroner’s refusal to conduct an “enhanced” inquest into his death.

Thomas O’Gorman was killed between 11 January and 12 January 2014 at his home in Beech Park Avenue, Castleknock, Dublin 15.

In 2015 his tenant Saverio Bellante (aged 40) admitted killing O’Gorman and eating his body parts.

A jury at the Central Criminal Court found Bellante not guilty of murder by reason of insanity and placed him in the care of the Central Mental Hospital, where he currently remains.

The High Court heard yesterday from lawyers of O’Gorman’s siblings, Paul and Catherine O’Gorman, that the coroner for the District of Dublin is due to resume an inquest into Thomas O’Gorman’s death in late September.

The inquest was adjourned from time to time to allow the trial proceed and for the submission of various documents.

Ciaran Craven SC for the O’Gormans told the court that his clients want a European Convention for Human Rights Article 2 compliant inquest into their brother’s death to be conducted by the coroner.

Counsel said this could be best described as “an enhanced inquest” in order to address concerns they have about the circumstances of their brother’s death.

Counsel said the reasons for seeking the enhanced inquest was because Bellante’s trial was insufficient for the purpose of a proper investigation into the killing.

Concerned about evidence 

The family was concerned about evidence from the trial that Bellante’s actions may have been attributable to the manner in which is schizophrenic illness was managed by the HSE and his treating consultant psychiatrist.

In addition, the family believe there were systemic failures in relation to Bellante’s treatment.

Bellante’s medical treatment changed before he had an acute psychotic episode which caused him to kill O’Gorman, it is claimed. In addition, there has been no investigation by any regulator into the circumstances giving rise to or surrounding the death.

No inquiry as to how Bellante was treated by the HSE has taken place, added counsel. The family sought an enhanced inquest, but that request was refused last May by the coroner.

Counsel said it is his client’s claim that the coroner erred when refusing to conduct an enhanced inquest.

The coroner had when considering the application made findings of fact without any evidence, and failed to take relevant considerations into account, counsel added.

In their action, they seek an order quashing the coroner’s decision of 2 May not to conduct an inquest that complies with Article 2 of the ECHR.

They also seek an order directing the coroner to conduct such an inquest.

They further seek declarations including that the Coroner’s decision not to have an enhanced inquest was unreasonable and irrational, void and of no effect.

Permission to bring the proceedings was granted on an ex parte basis by Mr Justice Seamus Noonan yesterday.

The judge who put a stay on the inquest from proceeding pending the outcome of the action made the matter returnable to a date in November.

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About the author:

Aodhan O Faolain

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