Widow's pain over convicted PC's appeal

THE widow of a tugboat captain who died shortly after he was assaulted by a policeman has spoken of her family's anguish after discovering the officer has been granted an appeal.

James Hore

THE widow of a tugboat captain who died shortly after he was assaulted by a policeman has spoken of her family's anguish after discovering the officer has been granted an appeal.

Moira O'Reilly and her husband, Ronnie, were both assaulted by Pc Gary Jay after the officer entered their Clacton home when he heard their 12-year-old son being told off.

Moments later father-of-three Mr O'Reilly, 48, collapsed and then died in the ambulance on the way to Colchester General Hospital.


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Jay, of Essex Police, was convicted in July of assaulting both Mr and Mrs O'Reilly and was sentenced to a three-month suspended prison sentence.

District Judge Kevin Gray told the shamed officer he had “abused a position of trust”, was a “trespasser” in the couple's home and said he could not separate that from the fact that Mr O'Reilly collapsed and died shortly after he was pushed in June last year.

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Jay, who remains on full pay while suspended from duty, faces a separate police misconduct hearing later this year, which could cost him his job.

It has now emerged the officer has been granted an appeal against the convictions, with the case to be heard in January at Basildon Crown Court.

Mrs O'Reilly, who now lives in Felixstowe, said hearing Jay's version of events during the court case had been “shocking”, but said the family were prepared this time.

She told the EADT: “It did feel like we had closure when he was convicted, but it is definitely all back up in the air again.

“I think he really has caused my family enough suffering and to put us through this, I find it very difficult.

“I appreciate that he has children, but so do I - he is sat there while suspended on full pay enjoying his family and we are still left in limbo.”

The 43-year-old has spoken at length about the devastating impact the whole episode has had on her bubbly, close-knit family.

Mr O'Reilly, who had worked on the tugboats at Felixstowe Port for 32 years, had chronic heart disease and did not have long to live.

Mrs O'Reilly continued: “I thought Jay would appeal, but I had hoped he would not as it means we cannot have an inquest until some time next year, probably two years after Ronnie died.

“It also means that we will now, as a family, have to go through the whole thing again.

“For my daughter, Keirsten, there will only be three weeks before her baby is due and that is what she has to look forward to,” she said.

At the trial at Southend Magistrates' Court, Jay said Mr O'Reilly had been “angry and aggressive” and said he was investigating a breach of the peace.

But District Judge Gray found him guilty on both counts of assault, and Jay was also sentenced to 200 hours of community service and ordered to pay £2,000 prosecution costs.

It is understood he will not have to start the community work or pay the fine until the outcome of the appeal is known.

A spokeswoman for Essex Police confirmed Jay was currently suspended and an internal misconduct hearing would be taking place later this year.

Jay was unavailable for comment last night.

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