Minister to study report into man’s death in garda cell

JUSTICE MINISTER Michael McDowell yesterday said he was examining an internal garda report into the death of a young man found hanging in a garda cell.

However, Mr McDowell said that, on the basis of preliminary reports he had read, there wasn’t any basis to claims of third party involvement in the death of Terence Wheelock.

The 20-year-old was found hanging in a cell in Store Street Garda Station on June 2, 2005.

Gardaí said Mr Wheelock was discovered with a ligature - believed to be from his tracksuit - tied around this neck.

The ligature had been secured to a fixture on one of the walls.

He went into a coma and died three months later.

The Wheelock family have called for an independent inquiry into Terence’s death and are being backed by Labour Party justice spokesman Joe Costello.

The Wheelocks, from Summerhill in Dublin’s north inner city, are adamant Terence was not suicidal.

An internal garda inquiry was set up to investigate the incident and a file was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The DPP ruled last week that no prosecutions be taken in relation to the case.

Mr McDowell said the report had been sent to the department and he was about to consider it.

“I haven’t physically seen it yet, but what annoys me are media reports suggesting that there is a basis for a prosecution.

“I want to read the report. All I know, from the preliminary reports that I got, I don’t believe there is any basis that there was any third party involvement in this at all.”

The family are currently taking a case in the High Court to get Terence’s clothes back from the gardaí. The case is due for mention next month.

The inquest into his death will open in the Dublin City Coroner’s Court next Friday, but is likely to be adjourned pending the High Court case.

The family wants an independent pathology report - commissioned by their solicitors - submitted as evidence to the inquest.

Labour’s Joe Costello said the State was not fulfilling its legal obligation under the European Convention for Human Rights for an independent inquiry.

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