Noah Donohoe’s campaign team calls for chief constable to resign

Noah Domohoe and Fiona Donohoe
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Content warning: This article mentions details of Noah Donohoe’s case that some readers may find distressing.

This article was updated at 9:30am on Friday 6 August to include a response from the Coroner 

As reported by The Canary, 14-year-old Noah Donohoe disappeared on 21 June 2020. His body was found in a storm drain six days later. A post-mortem examination found he died as a result of drowning. More than one year on, the Coroner’s Office has found no evidence that anybody was involved in his death.

The circumstances around Noah’s death remain unclear as the investigation continues. Meanwhile, his mother Fiona Donohoe suspects foul play. So both Fiona and a campaign team are fighting to ensure Noah gets justice. Moreover, they’re calling on the chief constable Simon Byrne to resign.

Simon Byrne must “step down”

Earlier this month, Fiona started a petition calling on the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s (PSNI) chief constable to resign. The petition states:

I call for Simon Bryne to step down from his position as Chief Constable of PSNI. …

I along with all those who have signed this petition do not have any faith in his capabilities to oversee the investigation into my son, Noah Donohoe’s death. …

Read on...

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On countless occasions throughout this investigation myself, my family and everyone of those who have signed this petition have been let down by the PSNI’s handling of it.

We want our children to feel safe on their streets and because of the little effort that has been attempted in investigating my son Noah’s death. We fear for our children’s safety.

At the time of publication, the petition had over 8,500 signatures. And supporters got right behind it, promising to lend even more support:

Simon Byrne controversies

Simon Byrne was previously chief constable of Cheshire police from 2014 until 2017. He was suspended in 2017 but then cleared of gross misconduct. And his time in the north of Ireland hasn’t been without controversy either. In 2019, he had to clarify and withdraw comments threatening to take the children of paramilitaries involved in shootings. Byrne said:

You carry on doing this and we will have your house, if you keep going we will have your car, we will have your kids, we will have your benefits and we will put you in jail.

Byrne clarified saying he would withdraw “the interpretation that children are pawns, if that’s what’s been heard”. He said that wasn’t his intention.

Then, in December 2020, Byrne had to apologise following the police ombudsman’s investigation into fines handed out under coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions at Black Lives Matter protests. The protests had taken place in Belfast and Derry in June that year. The ombudsman found justification in the claims that these protests were handled in an unfair and discriminatory manner.

An admission of guilt in Noah’s killing?

On 8 July, the Sunday World reported that a prisoner had apparently admitted to killing Noah Donohoe to his cellmate. But when the newspaper put it to the prisoner who had apparently admitted to murder, he denied it. He said his former cellmate was “delusional”.

Fiona met with police to discuss this alleged admission. She says the person who made that statement said the “UDA were called to dispose of” Noah’s body:

Taking it to the streets

In order to push this campaign forward, Fiona is organising a #FeetOnTheStreetAgain campaign:

She also shared this video of Noah, demonstrating his love of cooking:

And she had a special message of thanks for all those who have supported this campaign:

The Canary contacted the PSNI and the Coroner’s Office for comment. A PSNI spokesperson said:

The disappearance and death of Noah Donohoe is subject to an ongoing Coronial investigation. The Police Service of Northern Ireland continue to investigate under their Police (NI) Act 2000 duty, but also provide assistance to the Coroner, so it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.

The Coroner’s Service provided this response:

The Coroner’s investigation into this matter remains open. An active police investigation is running in tandem with the separate coronial investigation where the Coroner will be kept abreast of any developments from those investigations.

The Coroner has to date received disclosure from a variety of agencies and this exercise is ongoing. The Coroner has listed an inquest to commence in January 2022 and it would not be appropriate to comment further.

Featured image via Channel 4 News

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