Sister given final remains of her murdered brother

Lucia Barrow pictured with the remains of her brother Patrick Harkin with sisters (from left) Jacqueline and Betty Harkin before Mr Harkin was laid to rest at the end of March
Lucia Barrow pictured with the remains of her brother Patrick Harkin with sisters (from left) Jacqueline and Betty Harkin before Mr Harkin was laid to rest at the end of March

The sister of a man brutally murdered in Derry in 2011 was yesterday “shaking” after receiving the partial remains of her brother in a small wooden box.

The partial remains of Patrick Harkin’s body were this week finally released to his family, more than two years after he was brutally slain in his home by killer Paul Greatbanks (48) on February 20, 2011.

Speaking to the ‘Journal’ last night, the murdered man’s sister Lucia Barrow was “shaking” as she cradled a small box containing some of her dead brother’s body parts which were retained by the authorities for forensic evidence.

“To be sitting here with him on my knee in a square wooden box is hard to take. I’m shaking like a leaf,” she told the ‘Journal’.

She said body parts including his “skull and brain tissue” were retained for forensic evidence against Greatbanks, who had denied the murder of Mr Harkin until earlier this month.

A special blessing ceremony at the grave of Mr Harkin is due to take place in the City Cemetery tomorrow (Friday) at 10am.

“Now we just want to lay him to rest on Good Friday, so he can finally rest in peace.”

However, the family will not have closure until they are satisfied that Patrick’s killer will never leave prison. The length of time Greatbanks must spend behind bars before he is considered for release is to be fixed on April 12.

“We want to see that Greatbanks rots in jail for what he has done to our family,” Mrs Barrow added.

Mrs Barrow is due to meet with the PSNI this morning after the police ombudsman found that officers botched an investigation into a serious assault by Greatbanks on a taxi driver in a bar Derry in the weeks before the murder of her brother.

She said she will not accept an apology for the “failure” to arrest Greatbanks.

“We accept no apology from the police for happened in the investigation. Although we can’t be sure, we truly believe that had the matter been investigated our brother would be alive today.”

Mr Harkin’s eldest sister Jean Clarkston, who spoke to the ‘Journal’ from the US last night, added: “The apology is way to little and too late”. She also asked why it took “more than two years for the apology to be made”.

She said that the botched investigation into the assault, which involved a man being left scarred for life after being struck over the head with a bar stool, was “inexcusable”: “The police can keep their apology and I can only hope that they never make a similar mistake again for the sake of other families.”

Four officers involved in the investigation were “disciplined”, the police have confirmed. It’s understood that one officer involved in the case was dismissed from the service. Greatbanks was last week sentenced to nine months in prison and nine months on licence for the attack.

Greatbanks also awaits sentence for attempting to murder Letterkenny man Paul Mythen (39) in the same incident in which Patrick Harkin was killed.