Family of South Yorkshire grandfather stabbed 69 times by convicted killer win legal fight

John Gogarty who was stabbed to death in his home in Wombwell, South Yorkshire. Photo: Ross Parry / SWNS.
John Gogarty who was stabbed to death in his home in Wombwell, South Yorkshire. Photo: Ross Parry / SWNS.
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An inquest is to take place into the circumstances surrounding the death of a South Yorkshire grandfather who stabbed 69 times by a convicted killer.

John Gogarty, 65, was killed at his Wombwell home by Ian Birley in 2015, just 18 months after the 43-year-old had been released from prison for another murder.

Ian Birley who has been found guilty of the murder of John Gogarty after a three week trial at Sheffield Crown Court. Photo: Ross Parry / SWNS.

Ian Birley who has been found guilty of the murder of John Gogarty after a three week trial at Sheffield Crown Court. Photo: Ross Parry / SWNS.

Birley, who was out on licence for the 1995 killing at the time, was given a whole life term for Mr Gogarty's murder two years ago.

His accomplice, Helen Nichols, was given a life sentence with a 20-year-minimum.

On Monday, lawyers representing Mr Gogarty's daughter, Nicola, won the right to have a full inquest into the circumstances surrounding his death, which will look at whether there were failings by agencies involved in and after Birley's release from prison.

After hearing arguments at the Medico-Legal Centre, in Sheffield, senior coroner Chris Dorries agreed an inquest should take place at a date yet to be fixed.

Inquests are not normally held into deaths which have been explored in a crown court trial.

Anna Morris, representing the family, told Mr Dorries: "They know so little about their father's death and how it was to happen. The family clearly feel that they have not been given the full picture."

Ms Morris added: "Even on what little is known by them, the facts of Mr Gogarty's death are crying out for further investigation."

The barrister told the coroner that the family had had one meeting with the probation service, in 2016, about Birley and the "significant similarities to the first killing".

She said the family left that meeting with "severe concerns".

Coroner Mr Dorries said Birley and Nichols will have to be informed of the inquest and he may have to consider making them "interested persons" in the inquest process - a status which would give them the right to question witnesses.

Property developer Mr Gogarty's body was found covered in blood in his home four days after what the judge called a "frenzied" attack.

Nichols was caught on camera taking money from Mr Gogarty's account at a cash machine and a jury was told how the couple, both also from Wombwell, had robbed him to pay a drugs debt.

After Monday's hearing, Nicola Gogarty said in a statement released through lawyers Slater and Gordon: "We are delighted that the coroner has granted us the chance of a full inquest into my father's death.

"I now look forward to hearing the truth about the failings that led to convicted killer Ian Birley murdering my father."

Birley was jailed in 1996 for the 1995 murder of pensioner Maurice Hoyle in his Barnsley home.