THE MOTHER OF Gary Douch has criticised the prison services and the State for failing to provide adequate support to the inquiry into the circumstances of his death almost seven years ago.
The 21-year-old was killed at Mountjoy Prison in August 2006 after being placed in an overcrowded cell with a mentally ill inmate. He was beaten, kicked and strangled to death in an unprovoked attack before being left overnight under a mattress or duvet. Media reports at the time indicated that the other people in the cell were too frightened of the killer to raise the alarm or call for a guard.
“We’d like closure,” Margaret Rafter told RTÉ’s This Week. “It’s six years going on. It should have been finished within two years after Gary’s death.”
Although she was highly critical of the process, Rafter praised Grainne McMorrow SC on her work leading the current commission.
RTÉ reports that new hearings will be held shortly because of fresh evidence that came to light after McMorrow published her draft report last April.
In the aftermath of the shocking death, Justice Minister Michael McDowell launched an investigation, asking a civil servant to produce a preliminary report on the matter. That document revealed that systems failures that may have contributed to the tragedy.
In 2007, an official commission of investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death was launched. So far, McMorrow has dealt with up to 240 witnesses but has not been paid for three years of work.
Stephen Egan has since been convicted of manslaughter by diminished responsibility. A month before the killing, he was transferred from the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum to Mountjoy.
“The person that done it shouldn’t have been there in the first place. He should have been somewhere to get proper treatment. My Gary would still be here today,” Rafter told RTÉ today.
“It’s like he didn’t exist. He’s not an important person. But to me and his family, he was very, very important. He was a much-loved person, child, son, uncle, brother. They don’t care really. If they could have swept it under the carpet, they could have.”