Northern Ireland

Jason McGovern's death: Police launch murder inquiry

Police have said they are treating an attack in Omagh that led to the death of a County Monaghan teenager as murder.

It is believed Jason McGovern of Tydavnet, Monaghan, was punched at a pub on John Street, Omagh, at midnight on Sunday.

He was hit again two hours later at the Cunningham Terrace car park.

He then made his way to a friend's house in Mullan village near Emyvale where he was found dead on Monday.

The investigation will be led by the PSNI and supported by Gardai.

A post mortem examination showed the teenager's death had been due to a head injury he suffered during the initial assault.

Police said Jason travelled by taxi with a group of friends to Omagh, and was in two public houses during the evening.

They said the group became separated during the night but shortly before 2am, Jason and a friend were outside the Terrace Bar when they encountered a group of about five men and a verbal exchange took place.

"After this, punches were thrown and Mr McGovern was struck several times in the head and upper body," police said.

"He and his friend then moved away down Kevlin Road towards the taxi that was waiting for them at another public house, the Weigh Inn.

"They were followed by at least three of the original group of five males."

At the Cunningham Terrace car park, Mr McGovern was confronted by a man from the initial group of five men and was struck once more in the face and collapsed to the ground.

"He was assisted into the taxi by two men who had not been part of either fracas, but may have witnessed the incident," police said.

"The Monaghan party made their way home and Mr McGovern went to bed and was discovered dead at about noon on New Year's Eve."

Det Ch Insp Richard Harkness appealed for information from taxi drivers and motorists at the Cunningham Terrace car park, Omagh, and especially the two middle-aged men who helped Jason into his taxi with his friend after the assault to contact police.

He stressed that they had nothing to do with the assault.

A priest who knew the teenager described him as a "very caring and affable young man".

Canon Macartan McQuaid said his family were struggling to cope with his death.

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