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GSOC investigation into fatal shooting of George Nkencho by gardaí has 'made significant progress'

Nkencho was fatally wounded by members of the Garda Armed Support Unit outside his home in December 2020.

AN INVESTIGATION BY the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission into the fatal shooting of George Nkencho by gardaí in west Dublin in late 2020 has made significant progress, an inquest has heard.

A brief sitting of Dublin District Coroner’s Court heard an update on the GSOC investigation into the death of Nkencho (27) who was fatally wounded by members of the Garda Armed Support Unit outside his family home in Clonee, Co Dublin on 30 December 2020.

He was formally pronounced dead a short time later at Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown.

The fatal shooting occurred after a standoff developed at the house at Manorfields Drive, Clonee when the deceased refused to put away a kitchen knife.

The incident occurred shortly after Nkencho had assaulted a shop assistant at a nearby Eurospar store.

His family claim he was suffering from mental health issues for several months.

It is believed gardaí were unaware that Nkencho had returned to his family home and were fearful that he posed a threat to the occupants of the property when the decision was taken to use their weapons.

The senior officer leading the GSOC investigation into Nkencho’s death, Stuart Duguid, told the coroner, Myra Cullinane, that its inquiry was ongoing but “significant progress” had been made over the past year.

Duguid said interviews with a number of witnesses had still to be conducted and reports to be written up.

The GSOC officer had told a previous sitting of the coroner’s court in June 2021 that he hoped the investigation might be completed by the first anniversary of Nkencho’s death.

Duguid confirmed to Cullinane that there had also been an agreement between GSOC and Nkencho’s family about the sharing of a report on the preliminary post-mortem on his body.

He said they were still awaiting the full post-mortem report.

In response to a query from the coroner, the solicitor for the Nkencho family, David Harrington, said they were satisfied with the proceedings to date.

He also confirmed that the family were in contact with a liaison officer appointed by GSOC.

Duguid applied for and was granted a further adjournment of six months of the inquest due to the ongoing nature of the GSOC investigation.

Cullinane noted that an earlier adjournment of the inquest had been sought on the basis that criminal proceedings in the case were being contemplated.

A file on the GSCO investigation is expected to be forwarded to the DPP when finalised.

The coroner again expressed her condolences to several members of Nkencho’s family who were present in court.

Cullinane acknowledged the inquest process was difficult for the family but said the coroner’s court would “go through all the facts” about Nkencho’s death at a future date.

At a previous hearing of the inquest last year, Nkencho’s family called on the coroner to conduct a wide examination of his death to establish if his death was linked to racial profiling and discrimination in the context of the shooting “of a black man at the hands of white police officers.”

It also heard that an autopsy carried out by pathologist, Dr Kathleen Han Suyin, gave the cause of death as multiple gunshot wounds to the torso with no contributory factors.

Seán McCárthaigh