Family’s Inquest hopes

Joe Murphy. INNT 31-052-FP
Joe Murphy. INNT 31-052-FP

THE FATHER of a Glengormley man who drowned in the Lagan earlier this year has said he hopes the inquest into his son’s death will provide an accurate account of the final hours of his boy’s tragic death.

Joby Murphy died after he fell into the River Lagan, near the Odyssey complex in January this year.

Joby Murphy. INNT 05-055-FP

Joby Murphy. INNT 05-055-FP

The 20 year old had been out with friends at a Snow Patrol concert in the Odyssey Arena before drinking in one of the complex’s night clubs.

He was last seen struggling to get into a boat moored in the harbour before he went missing.

After four weeks of agony for the family, Joby’s body was eventually found in the river, close to where he fell in, by volunteer search teams using specialist sonar equipment.

The inquest into the death was scheduled to open yesterday (Wednesday) and speaking to the Times ahead of the hearing Joby’s father, Joe, said he hoped it would clear up the ambiguity surrounding his son’s final hours.

Joe said: “We know what the verdict will be. Joby had been drinking cheap alcohol, he was downing shots of double vodka which were on a drinks promotion and was over three times the drink drive limit.

“So we know what to expect from the verdict. But our hope is that the inquest clears up what happened before he died.”

Mr Murphy went on: “We have heard so many different accounts of what happened just before he went in the water it would be good if that can be cleared up.

“We just hope that we can get the facts straight about what happened from this inquest.”

Mr Murphy has also raised a number of concerns about the subsequent police search for his son’s body.

Joe added: “We are not sure, but we hope the inquest will also deal with the problems surrounding the search.

“The main police diver assured us that he would find the body, but after a few weeks he then assured us that the body would have been swept out to sea and we ended up searching as far away as Carrick for the body.

“We were totally disgusted with the search operation. It should not have been as long as it was and we should not have been made the promises that we were.

“Hopefully the inquest will go into those details and we will have on record exactly what failings there were in trying to find Joby’s body.

“That might bring some comfort.”

Following Joby’s death a trust was set up in his name to help fund for the provision of specialist search equipment to be stationed at Belfast harbour.

Thousands was raised by Joby’s family and friends and rock band Snow Patrol also made a generous donation and in August the sonar equipment was handed over to the Community Rescue Service.