Man murdered by convicted killer let down catastrophically, family says

Friday 26 April 2019

Anna Morris of Garden Court was instructed by Kim Harrison of Slater and Gordon Solicitors to represent John Gogarty's family.

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The family of a grandfather who was murdered by a convicted killer out on licence has said he was "let down so catastrophically by the justice system".

A coroner found there were missed opportunities to stop Ian Birley before he killed John Gogarty in Wombwell, South Yorkshire.

Now his family are calling for an independent investigation to take place whenever someone is murdered by somebody under the supervision of the Probation Service

Mr Gogarty's daughter, Nicola, said:

"If the Probation Service had done their job properly, my father would still be here and my children would still have a granddad.

"My family and I fought for three years for this inquest to take place, so we could truly understand how a loving pensioner was let down so catastrophically by the justice system.

"We are extremely grateful that this inquest has exposed the failings leading up to my father's death, but feel it is wrong that a family should have to fight for that right.

"The law is meant to protect victims.

"We do not feel that the system did that for our father and strongly believe that if someone commits a serious crime when out on licence, an investigation should be automatically launched, not launched by family members who are grieving and desperate to know the truth."

Ms Gogarty said:

"In my opinion, Ian Birley is not a mad man, he is a bad man, and no family should have to fight for the right to understand why a loved one lost their life to such appalling hands."

Kim Harrison, the family's lawyer at Slater and Gordon, said she hoped that the failings highlighted in this case "will not be ignored". She said:

"The family are concerned that after the death of their father, there was only an internal National Probation Service review into any acts or omissions that could have contributed to his death, and without this inquest there would not have been an independent investigation into any of those issues.

"On behalf of the family we are now calling for an automatic independent investigation to take place whenever a murder is committed by somebody under supervision of the Probation Service."

This case has been widely reported, including by the BBC, DailyMail and Yorkshire Post.

Anna Morris is a member of the Garden Court Chambers Inquests and Inquiries Team.

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