Gerard Hampson’s remains were found on an isolated stretch of shoreline near Toome in January 2008, several weeks after he went missing.
The Irish News reports that a pathologist who carried out a post mortem examination on the 53-year-old, previously said a possible cause of death was drowning and “there must be considerable suspicion around his death.”
At the time he went missing the 53-year-old was wanted for questioning in connection with a double abduction in Co Westmeath and a shooting in Derry in 2007.
Marvin Canning, a brother-in-law of the late Sinn Féin deputy first minister Martin McGuinness, was charged in connection with the episode but the prosecution was later dropped.
Mr Hampson was a former republican prisoner who served a sentence for IRA activities and was connected to the anti-agreement 32-County Sovereignty Movement.
An inquest, which opened in Omagh yesterday, heard from a pathologist while several statements were also read to the court.
In one statement provided to police by a individual known only as Witness Y it was claimed he had been told that Mr Hampson had been drowned.
The witness identified three men they believed were involved in Mr Hampson’s death.
Two are now understood to be dead with one having taken his own life in 2010.
Witness Y confirmed to police they had met with Mr Hampson before he went missing and claimed that another person, known only as Witness X, had later “more or less” said while drinking that Mr Hampson had been drowned.
Witness Y later went on to say that Witness X, while “seriously drunk”, had claimed “it wasn’t easy to do, or something, or it wasn’t easy done, or hard to do or something, ‘holding that man under the water’ – that was the words that was said”.
“Again I thought drink talking, I honestly thought. I though he was talking rubbish,” Witness Y said in his statement.
Witness Y also told police in a 2015 statement that, while visiting the grave of the person who had taken his own life in 2010, that Witness X had also claimed “that man’s dead and buried and the secret’s away with him”.
During the hearing both Witness X and Witness Y failed to attend to give evidence resulting in Senior Coroner Joe McCrisken issuing both with maximum £1,000 fines each.
The hearing continues.Tags: