New demand for probe into first death of Troubles

The call comes exactly 40 years after retired farmer Francie McCloskey from
Dungiven died after receiving a blow to the head during an RUC baton charge
in his home town.

The 66-year-old bachelor died from his injuries on July 14, 1969.

The Police Ombudsman?s Office has yet to begin a detailed investigation into
the circumstances surrounding his death.

Mr McCloskey has no living relatives in Ireland.

However, former neighbours have continued to campaign for his case to be
examined by the authorities.

Former family friend Lucy |McCloskey (no relation) urged the |Police
Ombudsman?s office to begin an investigation immediately.

She said: ?To be honest I?m not surprised they have not started their
investigation. I and a lot of other people knew they were not going to make
a big effort for him, especially because he has no living relatives to push
them on. Because of the passage of time a lot of key witnesses to Francie?s
death will have died or be elderly by now.?

Mrs McCloskey said Francie?s violent death 40 years ago had an impact that is
felt even today.

She said: ?As a young girl when this happened it was a blood-chilling event,
that someone we knew had died like this. My blood ran cold at the idea of
someone being murdered like this.

?He was such an innocent and kind man and was involved in nothing.

?It is very important to people of my generation and the people who lived
around here that Francie receives justice.?

Francie McCloskey died after an Orange Order parade through Dungiven on July
12, 1969, sparking rioting by nationalists that lasted almost two days.

Police were tasked to protect Dungiven Orange hall from a barrage of missiles
and petrol bombs hurled by nationalist rioters on the 13th evening. As the
night wore on police launched several baton charges from inside the hall in
a bid to disperse the rioters.

It was during one of these charges that Mr McCloskey, who was standing in the
doorway of a drapery store close to the Orange hall, suffered a fatal head
injury.

At an inquest held several days later a pathologist confirmed that Francie
suffered a brain haemorrage as a result of a blow to the head.

A spokesman for the Police Ombudsman’s Office confirmed it has carried out an
?initial review? of Mr McCloskey?s case but it will take at least 12 months
for a full investigation to be launched.

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