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'Heartbreaking day' George Nkencho inquest adjourned as gardaí who ‘used force’ yet to be interviewed

Mr Nkencho had allegedly assaulted a local shop worker and was armed with a knife when he was shot dead by armed gardaí outside his Clonee home on December 30 last

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George Nkencho

George Nkencho

George Nkencho

The Garda Ombudsman has yet to interview the gardaí who "used force" on the day George Nkencho was shot dead, a senior investigator has said.

An inquest into the 27-year-old's death was adjourned for six months pending the completion of an investigation into the fatal incident.

Mr Nkencho had allegedly assaulted a local shop worker and was armed with a knife when he was shot dead by armed gardaí outside his Clonee home on December 30 last.

Gardaí said at the time that they had unsuccessfully attempted to use non-lethal force before he was fatally injured.

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George Nkencho's mother Blessing outside the inquest at the RD. Photo: Gerry Mooney

George Nkencho's mother Blessing outside the inquest at the RD. Photo: Gerry Mooney

George Nkencho's mother Blessing outside the inquest at the RD. Photo: Gerry Mooney

This morning Dublin District Coroner's Court heard that the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission's (GSOC) investigation into the matter is ongoing.

Senior investigator Stuart Duguid said they are part way through their inquiry and are in the process of completing all outstanding investigative steps.

This, he said, includes interviewing the members concerned that "used force on the day", which GSOC have yet to do.

Mr Duguid added that they hope to complete the investigation by the end of the year and that there may be, if necessary, matters for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to consider.

Senior coroner Dr Myra Cullinane acceded to the request for an adjournment and put the matter back to December for mention.

She also expressed her condolences with the family of George Nkencho who were present.

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Eniola Badru was among the protesters outside the inquest

Eniola Badru was among the protesters outside the inquest

Eniola Badru was among the protesters outside the inquest

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A group of demonstrators had gathered outside the RDS where the hearing was taking place in support of the family.

Brief evidence was also given about the cause of death and formal identification of George Nkencho.

His aunt Grace Anyanwu said she formally identified him at the Dublin city mortuary the day after the shooting.

The inquest heard a post-mortem, carried out by Dr Kathleen Han Suyin, found that he died from multiple gunshot wounds to the trunk.

Barrister Sean Rafter BL, for the Nkencho family, also made a submission to the court on their behalf.

He asked that the court not only considers the specific circumstances of the death, "but the wider and broader circumstances of his death as a young black man at the hands of white police officers".

Mr Rafter said that George Nkencho's siblings were within earshot and eyeshot of what happened.

They are, counsel said, looking forward to giving their evidence and to dispel what he described as "lies and rumours" maliciously disseminated about Mr Nkencho, particularly in online forums, after his death.

Mr Rafter said he was urging the court to adopt a broad examination of George Nkencho's death, and that the family were confident that justice will be done.

Speaking after the inquest was adjourned, his sister Grateful Nkencho described it as a "heartbreaking day" and that what happened to her brother should never happen again.

"All we want is a full investigation to bring out truth and justice," she added.

Referencing a recent incident in Dublin during which a man was arrested after allegedly shooting at gardaí, Ms Nkencho questioned why trained negotiators were not deployed to engage with her brother before he was shot dead.

"The Minister for Justice has agreed to the family's request for a local diversity forum in Blanchardstown. This must be a real forum where the gardaí regularly engage with and are accountable to the communities they police, including minorities."

Family friend Olubukola Ashaolu Shopeju also said they still have many unanswered questions about George Nkencho's death.

Among the group of demonstrators outside the inquest was People Before Profit TD Brid Smith, who said that there are serious questions that need to be answered.

The inquest was adjourned to December 14.

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