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NO STONE UNTURNED Witness statements raise more questions but 'we're closer to answers for Noah' says Fiona Donohoe

MPs call for early date but mum pleads for inquest not to be rushed as hunt for photographs goes on

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Fiona Donohoe with her son Noah

Fiona Donohoe with her son Noah

Fiona Donohoe with her son Noah

Witness statements released to the family of late teenager Noah Donohoe give rise "to more questions" over his disappearance and death, his heartbroken mum has said.

Fiona Donohoe described the newly disclosed information by coroner Joe McCrisken last week as "getting closer to answers for Noah".

At a pre-inquest review hearing on Friday it was heard how some witnesses had yet to be identified who could assist in the ongoing investigation into the 14-year-old's death.

Legal representatives for the schoolboy's family told the court how next year's "ambitious" January date for a full hearing may have to be delayed until "all lines of inquiry have been pursued".

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Noah Donohoe

Noah Donohoe

Noah Donohoe

 

The comments were made during discussions around disclosure, scope of the hearing and timing as Mr McCrisken revealed he'd received correspondence from two unnamed English MPs requesting that the full inquest date be brought forward.

Writing on social media hours after the review sitting, Fiona said she was "taken aback" at the political requests, saying: "We do not want Noah's inquest rushed".

"Noah deserves a thorough investigation (as we have always said)," she said.

Fiona added: "Today hours before court we got disclosure of some statements...that gives rise to more questions.

"I will not pretend it was easy reading new information...but can only look it as getting closer to answers for Noah.

"I have a blue binder file of statements sitting...of people's words and my statements - so surreal.

"On a Friday night...it would have been... Noah on one sofa me on another... Noah's treats...my treats and laughs in between acknowledging our need for personal time...yet still together bonded."

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Fiona also thanked the dozens of 'Noah's Army' campaigners who lined the streets outside the court building holding placards and pictures of her son.

"Your Empathy and passion keep My family going for Our Noah," she wrote in a touching post.

"He encapsulates every child you look at and have love for...that is why ALL of us in #NoahsArmy want to know THE SYSTEM...The Justice system...the PSNI...the Community as a whole that we live in care as intrinsically as we care as if it was THEIR CHILD."

Noah's body was discovered in a north Belfast storm drain six days after he went missing on a bike ride across the city to meet friends in June last year.

A post-mortem found his cause of death to be drowning.

His family has always said that many questions surround his disappearance and death and have tirelessly campaigned for answers.

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The storm drain

The storm drain

The storm drain

 

At a previous pre-inquest hearing in January, solicitor Niall Murphy revealed that the PSNI had received information "that Noah was assaulted as he cycled through the city centre" on Sunday, June 21 - the day he went missing.

Mr Murphy appealed for anyone with any knowledge of this to speak to police immediately.

"We have reason to believe that there is a particular and specific knowledge of this assault in the homeless community and with those struggling with addiction issues," Mr Murphy continued, "both in the city centre and also from people who were residents at Queens Quarter housing association in University Street, specifically people resident there in June."

He urged businesses on Royal Avenue to review their CCTV for June 21 2020 and make it available to police, and made a "specific appeal" to the people "with relevant photographs stored in their phones to voluntarily present themselves and their phones to police to enable police to forensically download the photos to verify the times and locations that the photos were taken".

Appealing to those who may have images vital to the investigation, he insisted: "You are not under suspicion, you have done nothing wrong and you will get your phone back.

"Please help Fiona find out what happened to her son."

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Last image: Noah on his bike

Last image: Noah on his bike

Last image: Noah on his bike

 

Speaking on Friday during the latest review hearing, Mr Murphy called next year's January 10 date for a full hearing into the St Malachy College pupil's death as "somewhat ambitious.

"We will be as ready as soon as possible," he said.

Barrister for the Donohoe family, Brenda Campbell QC, added: "It is very much our view that this ought to be an ongoing inquiry and there are a number of lines of inquiry which we will be raising in correspondence. There is a desire on the part of the family to be satisfied that the PSNI investigation has been thorough.

"I think it is our view that January 10 does appear to be optimistic, and rather than bringing the hearing forward it may well be that there is an application to push it back by two months or a little bit more, in order to accommodate all of the lines of inquiry that need to be bottomed out."

Another pre-review hearing is scheduled for June 30.

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