The Murder of Seamus Ludlow in County Louth, May 1976. Towards a public inquiry?

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 July 2002 - The Irish Attorney General has directed the Coroner for County Louth to hold a fresh inquest into the death of Seamus Ludlow.  . . . . Please return for updates and important developments.    This photograph of Seamus Ludlow was taken later in his life.This is a youthful photograph of Seamus Ludlow, taken several years before his murder.This memorial stone marks the place where the dead body of Seamus Ludlow was discovered on Sunday 2nd. May, 1976. This new stone recently replaced another stone.

 

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The Dundalk Democrat, 20 July 2002: 

Second inquest to be held into the death of Seamus Ludlow

The Government Press Office this week confirmed that a new inquest is to be held into the murder of Seamus Ludlow, the forty-seven year old forestry worker whose body was found in a laneway, 26 years ago.

Seamus was shot three times and his body dumped in a ditch down a laneway close to his Mountpleasant home, where it was discovered on May 2 1976, the day after his disappearance.

Members of his family, who have since been struggling to find out the truth surrounding his murder, were not present at the inquest which was held on August 19th 1976 and until recent years had only a news report in the "Dundalk Democrat" for reference.

Although the body had been identified by Seamus' brother, Kevin, and a proposed deposition prepared, Kevin was not present at the inquest  and on his deposition, the then County Coroner, Dr Thomas Scully noted "Not in attendance. Away on holiday - just back. Working in Newry. Could not be contacted".

This aspect of the inquest has always been disputed by the family, who say they were unable to attend because of lack of notice. A member of the Gardai had called to Kevin Ludlow's home in Cox's Demesne only forty-five minutes before the inquest, but because he was working in Newry, there was no way he could make it back to Dundalk in time. The family still insist he had not been on holiday, as was suggested.

There was, the family state, no attempt made by Gardai to notify Seamus' sister - Mrs Nan Sharkey, with whom he had lived - of the inquest.

This has been admitted by Detective Sergeant Gannon in a letter sent to Mrs Sharkey's solicitors dated 16 January 1997 and also quoted in a British Irish Rights Watch Report into Seamus' death:

"In relation to the inquest, I wish to state that a member attached to Dundalk Station, had, at the time, been given the task of notifying witnesses and family of the inquest, but it appears he overlooked your client. I only became aware of this on the date of the inquest and did everything I could to correct the situation", the report read.

On 30th May 2002, in a letter to the Attorney General, the solicitor acting for Seamus Ludlow's family made submissions to the Attorney-General as to why it would be appropriate to hold a new inquest into the death.

Speaking to the "Democrat" this week, Mr Ludlow's nephew, Jimmy Sharkey said the family were pleased to hear that there is going to be a second inquest and added that this time around, the family would be ensuring they will be fully involved.

"We received confirmation from the Attorney General that the County Coroner, Ronan Maguire, has been instructed to proceed with a new inquest".

Although it is not known yet when the inquest will open, Jimmy said his family did not mind a few months wait, after twenty-six years, to ensure that it will be fully prepared.

"Two of the three bullets used in Seamus' murder were sent to Northern Ireland for forensic examination and up until last March hadn't been traced. One bullet may still be in the South, though its not certain. These bullets are going to have to be traced.

"Also, the authorities never returned Seamus' clothes and so they should still be in storage somewhere".

In the meantime, the family are continuing to be involved with the Inquiry being carried out by Justice Henry Barron. But they insist that both the inquest and inquiry will be dealt with as two different issues.

As Jimmy explained: "it's twenty-six years since Seamus was murdered. Anything that comes along now can only help us. We see the inquest as yet another step, but we don't want a half-hearted effort. we want a fully-prepared inquest with all the information presented, including forensics and ballistics".

I Homepage I I Top I Press Coverage I I BIRW Report I I Barron Inquiry I I Terms of reference for Barron Inquiry I

The Irish Independent, 19 July 2002: Fresh inquest into death of murdered man

The Irish News, 19 July 2002: Family welcome inquest 26 years after murder

Copyright 2002 the Ludlow family. All rights reserved.
Revised: July 19, 2002 .