‘He killed our Joe’
A County Derry man at the centre of a cancer drug TV appeal is a convicted sectarian killer.
The family of a man kicked to death in Derry in 1976 were shocked when they saw cancer patient Adrian Allen in the news last week appealing for the drug to be made available by the Department of Health.
Allen was jailed along with two other men for the manslaughter of Derry Catholic Joe McLaughlin, who died after being beaten at Spencer Road on November 26, 1976.
A source close to the family of Mr McLaughlin told the ‘Journal’ yesterday that family members were “devastated” to see and hear Mr Allen interviewed by Stephen Nolan on BBC TV and radio.
“The family was very upset by this. It brought it all back. It was awful. You’re just sitting in the house watching television and you don’t expect to see someone who killed your brother.”
The source said the producers of the programme should have given the family prior warning of Mr Allen’s appearance on the show.
“The show should have done a background check on this man and notified the family that he would be on tv. Here he was pleading for a chance and pleading for his life but Joe didn’t get a chance when he was kicked to death.”
However, the source said the family do not believe Mr Allen should be denied the cancer drugs. “As a family we don’t wish him any ill will but we think we should have been pre-warned that he was going to be on.
“We contacted the Nolan show a number of times and were told that it would be passed on but no-one has ever got back to us. I enjoy the show and like to see Nolan grilling the politicians but they should have the courtesy to get back to us.
“We have nothing against Adrian Allen getting these drugs but we think we should have been warned instead of shocked like this.”
A spokesperson for BBC Northern Ireland said last night: “The Nolan Show interviewed Mr Allen in the context of his current illness and his efforts to obtain access to a particular medication. The aim of the story was to raise awareness of the dilemma some sufferers of pancreatic cancer face in relation to getting this drug on the NHS in Northern Ireland and to seek clarification on the issue.”
Mr Allen (56) was sent home with painkillers after being told by doctors in December that he had pancreatic cancer and would need specialist treatment. A specialist at his last appointment at the Belfast Trust hospital explained to his family that the drug Sunitinib was his only hope but that he would have to get approval because it was a lot more expensive than the drug he was using.
Sunitinib is available on the NHS in England, Scotland and Wales but the Department of Health here had not made it available until Mr Allen’s appeal was highlighted.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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