Commission to probe Douch prison cell murder

THE savage murder of Gary Douch, who was kicked, strangled and beaten to death in his Mountjoy prison cell, is to be probed by a commission of investigation.

Yesterday, Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Mr Michael McDowell said he expected a full report on the murder by the end of this year.

The Tánaiste has written a letter of apology to the mother of Gary Douch, 21, explaining that a commission of investigation is being established to carry out a full inquiry into the matter.

Mr Douch died following an attack while he was a prisoner in August 2006.

The commission, will be headed by Ms Gráinne McMorrow, SC and will be independent with full statutory powers to investigate the matter.

Last August, Mr Michael Mellett, a former senior civil servant of the Department of Justice, was appointed by the Tánaiste to inquire into the incident.

His findings had serious implications for the future management of prisons, the Justice Minister said.

“It is now clear that a review going beyond the scope of the Mellett investigation’s terms of reference is warranted. A detailed sworn inquiry is now essential. The issues are matters of public importance and the Government has agreed to my proposal that a statutory commission of investigation be established,” the Minister said.

The Minister said he was constrained from releasing details of Mr Mellett’s report but confirmed that significant failings had been identified and serious questions raised.

Stephen Egan, 23, appeared in court earlier this month charged with the murder of Mr Douch.

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