Terence Wheelock: death

THE Garda Ombudsman has sent a report to the Director of Public Prosecutions following a two-year investigation into the unexplained death in garda custody of Terence Wheelock.

A spokesman for the watchdog confirmed a file has also been sent to the Garda Ombudsman Commission "for its consideration" regarding the death.

He said a report on the lengthy inquiry had been forwarded to the DPP, who will now decide what course of action – if any – to take.

"At the end of each of our inquiries, there are three options: to report to the DPP, recommend further investigation or to close the file out," the spokesman said.

"A report has been sent to the DPP for them to view and it is their decision now on whether there is anything they want to pursue in it."

Sources say they do not expect the DPP to recommend any charges.

The Wheelock family have been critical of the inordinate amount of time it has taken the ombudsman to finish the investigation, as the bulk of inquiries had already been finished late last year.

Terence's brother Larry Wheelock said: "From the very beginning, we have been very concerned about this ombudsman investigation. It took more than a year before they even spoke to a garda involved in the incident.

"They have sent a report to the DPP knowing that they have never reversed a decision involving a death in custody in their history. As far as the family is concerned, this case will go to the European Court of Human Rights as we always intended."

Terence Wheelock died in September 2005, three months after lapsing into a coma from which he never awoke, following an unexplained incident in garda custody. Gardaí insist he hanged himself.

Wheelock's family have always maintained he was the victim of a serious assault at Store Street garda station and have been campaigning for a public inquiry since his death. They have raised dozens of questions with gardaí, asking in particular why Wheelock's cell was renovated before an independent technical examination could took place.

Also unexplained were large blood stains on his t-shirt, tracksuit bottoms and boxer shorts, which an independent forensic analysis of his clothes suggested may have come from anal bleeding.

Shortly after the Garda Ombudsman Commission was first set up, they launched their first "public interest" inquiry into the circumstances of the Wheelock death.