Co Tyrone Matthew McCallan: Family’s relief after inquest into death of schoolboy is announced

todayAugust 16, 2023 5

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Teenager Matthew McCallan’s body found in ditch in Fintona following country music festival

The 15-year-old from Co Tyrone was found dead in a ditch outside Fintona late last year after attending a country music festival with friends.

His frantic family and scores of volunteers spent almost two days searching for him after he was reported missing on December 4.

His body was found by a local woman the following day. It was one of the coldest nights of the winter, and an initial post-mortem examination found Matthew died of hypothermia.

The Coroner’s Service advised that Coroner Joe McCrisken intends to hold an inquest into the Dungannon teenager’s death.

Matthew’s mother Frances said that while there is no date for the hearing yet, she is “hopeful to get justice”.

“I just want the actual truth to come out and for anyone that might be liable for Matthew’s death that night to be held accountable,” she said.

“I’m never going to feel any different, and unless someone loses a child, they will never know how it feels.

“I won’t be happy, and it won’t change anything, because he’s gone. But at least when we get the inquest we will know we have done right by Matthew.”

Solicitor Niall Murphy of Belfast-based KRW Law will represent the McCallan family.

“This is a solemn, but important, announcement that the family welcomes and looks forward to participating in,” he said.

“The family also reiterates their public appeal for anybody with any information in relation to the events of the night [that Matthew died] to make themselves known to me or the coroner’s office.

The McCallan family previously raised concerns about the PSNI’s handling of their loved one’s disappearance.

Ms McCallan criticised police after revealing her family only found out the PSNI wanted to meet them to discuss her son’s case via the media.

In more correspondence from March, Detective Inspector Michael Winters informed the family’s former solicitor he “had been tied up with the DCI Caldwell attempted murder”, which caused delays in his responses.

Mr Caldwell was shot and seriously wounded in front of his young son at a sports complex in Omagh after finishing a coaching session with a youth football team on February 22.

Seven men are currently charged with the attempted murder.

Matthew’s family said while they utterly condemned the act of violence upon the senior detective, the comments from Mr Winters made them feel as though Matthew’s case “did not matter in comparison to a police-related incident”, and that the PSNI was “incompetent” at communicating with them.

The PSNI has since put itself forward for a review by the Police Ombudsman, which may involve a lengthy process.

When contacted for further comment, the PSNI said: “Our thoughts remain with Matthew’s devastated family.

“However, as there is an ongoing inquest, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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