Noah Donohoe Inquest. Niall Murphy’s remarks at Preliminary Hearing. Friday 28 August 2020

Mr Coroner, we have had the benefit of a detailed briefing this morning which included the provision of almost 9 minutes of CCTV compilation.


Whereas this represents the most harrowing experience of Fiona Donohoe’s life, to view the last recorded moments of Noah, she is appreciative of having had the opportunity to do so.


The CCTV compilation represents a continuum of Noah’s journey from his home to his final known sighting at Northwood Road.


Fiona is eternally grateful to the businesses, public authorities and residents who have volunteered their footage. We are advised by police that no warrants were required to obtain any of it.


Fiona acknowledges that the compilation is not a constant continuous video track of Noah’s movements and notes that there are blind spots in the journey, particularly the most relevant and sensitive part of the journey from Skegoneill Avenue to his final sighted destination.


Fiona accepts and respects that this is an ongoing investigation and hopes and prays that the vacuum which exists from 1801 onwards will be filled and again she appeals to residents to exhaust their memories and CCTV if any is held, to help complete the evidential picture.


One issue to clarify in respect of CCTV timings arises from a BBC report last week which referred to a sighting at 1801, which we understand to be accurate and the final sighting at 1811, which is sourced from senior police briefings at the time of the search for Noah.


Police have since confirmed that that 1811 timing is wrong. The time stamp on the actual footage is 1808. Police misunderstood at the time of its retrieval that the clock on the CCTV was 3 minutes slow and hence the reported actual timing of 1811. Police now understand the clock on the CCTV to have been 5 minutes fast hence the new last sighting timing of 1803. Fiona appreciates that these timings will be evidentially verified at the full inquest.


Fiona looks forward to the disclosure of the footage from each individual camera, to review the period before and after Noah’s sighting, to confirm the police consideration that there was no pursuit. She wholly appreciates that the compilation to date is to show all of Noah’s movements.


Fiona would also like to thank police for their diligent work in locating and recovering Noah’s bag and latterly at a separate address, his laptop. These items were not volunteered by any person and only came into police possession through diligent police work. Fiona awaits the outcome of separate criminal proceedings in this regard, as referred to by counsel for the Coroner.


Finally Mr Coroner, Fiona again seeks to thank the wider community for the manner in which they have taken Noah to their hearts. The acts of civic solidarity and sympathy by local councils in Belfast, Strabane, Lisburn and further afield, have been of great comfort. Fiona wants Noah’s name to survive as a testament to the qualities he possessed as a vibrant, intelligent young boy. Fiona is working to harness that good will to ensure an enduring and fitting legacy to her beautiful son and hopes to be in a position to present that in the near future.


Fiona thanks you, the police and the public for the facts to date and encourages everyone to co-operate fully with the ongoing police investigation so that all facts are recovered and verified to permit Noah to rest in peace, with love and dignity.