Report from Dr. Denis Leigh regarding the death of Sean McKenna
Pat Finucane Centre | 25 October 2017
Medical evidence linking premature death of one of the "Hooded Men", Sean McKenna, with his treatment during "interrogation in-depth" at the hands of RUC Special Branch under the instruction of the British Army.
Leigh unequivocally links the worsening of McKenna's condition to his treatment during in "in-depth interrogation". The techniques inflicted included wall-standing, sleep deprivation, white noise, hooding, sleep deprivation and a bread and water diet.
The memo also shows that McKenna was selected for "in-depth interrogation" despite the authorities being aware that he had a pre-existing heart condition.
The PFC uncovered this medical report from 1975, carried out by Dr Leigh following a request by Crown Solicitors in preparation for a civil case being brought by McKenna.
Dr Leigh, a prominent Harley St doctor, notes that prior to interrogation the doctor who examined him noted that he had mild heart trouble and
"it is clear, therefore, that at the time of admission to the Detention Centre he was already suffering from angina pectoris, and that this angina had increased in severity."
Dr Leigh concludes that:
"It seems that Mr McKenna was suffering from angina before he was interrogated and I think it would be hard to show that
a) that it was wise to proceed with the interrogation; and
b) that the interrogation did not have the effect of worsening his angina.
With regards to his other psychiatric symptoms, I think that one will probably have to regard them as being the result of so called "deep interrogation" procedures."
Along with the medical report is a note stating that "It was extremely lucky indeed for me (Dr Leigh) that there certainly was some days between my examination of him and his death."
Sean McKenna died a few days after Dr Leigh examined him....."his death was not unexpected."