The case of Francie McCloskey has undergone an initial review by the office of Police Ombudsman Al Hutchinson

The circumstances surrounding the death of the first person killed during the Troubles in Northern Ireland has yet to be investigated by the Police Ombudsman's Office.

Retired farmer Francie McCloskey died a day after he was caught up in an RUC baton charge in Dungiven, Co Derry, on 13 July 1969, 40 years ago this Tuesday.

The 66-year-old, who lived with his unmarried sister, was taken to Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry with serious head injuries in the early hours of 14 July and died later that day.

The Sunday Tribune has learned that the Police Ombudsman's office has yet to begin a detailed investigation despite local claims that McCloskey died as a result of receiving a blow from an RUC baton.

The bachelor's file was one of several dozen passed over to the police watchdog by the Historical Enquiries Team weeks after it was set up to probe troubles related deaths in 2006.

McCloskey has no living relatives in Ireland. However, former neighbours have continued to campaign for his case to be examined by the authorities. Former family friend, Lucy McCloskey (no relation) urged the Police Ombudsman's office to begin its investigation immediately.

She said: "To be honest I'm not surprised they have not started their investigation. I and a lot of other people knew they were not going to make a big effort for him, especially because he has no living relatives to push them on. Because of the passage of time, a lot of key witnesses to Francie's death will have died or be elderly by now."

Mrs McCloskey said Francie's violent death 40 years ago had an impact that is felt even today.

"The impact of his death continues to this day with my generation. As a young girl when this happened it was a blood-chilling event – that someone we knew had died like this. My blood ran cold at the idea of someone being murdered like this.

"He was such an innocent and kind man and was involved in nothing. That made it all the more shocking. It is very important to people of my generation and the people who lived around here that Francie receives justice."

Francie McCloskey travelled to Dungiven from his home just outside the town some time on 13 July. An Orange Order parade through the mainly nationalist town a day earlier on 12 July had sparked a round of rioting that lasted almost two days.

Police were tasked to protect Dungiven Orange hall from a barrage of missiles and petrol bombs hurled by nationalist rioters on the evening of the 13th. As the night wore on, police launched several baton charges from inside the Orange Hall in a bid to disperse the rioters.

It was during one of these charges that McCloskey, who was standing in the doorway of a drapery store close to the Orange Hall, suffered a fatal head injury.

At an inquest held in Derry City several days later, a pathologist confirmed that Francie suffered a brain haemorrhage as a result of a blow to the head.

Mrs McCloskey says a full investigation into his death will go some way to healing the hurt his death caused locally.

"There is no doubt that Francie died at the hands of the RUC. Whether he was pushed to the ground or was hit with a baton, they were responsible. There should be some admission of this wrongdoing.

A spokesman for the Police Ombudsman's office confirmed it has carried out an "initial review" of McCloskey's case but it will take at least 12 months for a full investigation to be launched.

A spokesman said: "We have carried out an initial review and on the basis of that we have put it into a system, a matrix of cases that will be investigated. It won't be investigated for for a considerable period of time."