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No evidence of Garda misconduct in case where man shot himself in head

A GSOC report found that there had been no wrongdoing by gardaí in the incident.

Image: RollingNews.ie

THE GARDA OMBUDSMAN has found no evidence of misconduct in how the gardaí handled an incident in which a man died after shooting himself in the head.

A report published today by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) found that there had been no wrongdoing by gardaí in an incident that took place last year.

The report outlines the incident that took place in Dublin on the night of the 26 January involving a Mr Anthony Ward.

Ward had travelled to the house of his girlfriend that evening and forced her to drive across the city.

Ward had taken out a revolver after she tried to escape at a location in Dublin.

He then drove across the M50 motorway and stopped at service station. He told the woman to go inside and buy a cigarette lighter – threatening to kill her if she did not return.

The report states that two marked Garda cars had seen the women run in and out of the station, before Ward’s car left the forecourt at speed.

The gardaí pursued Ward, who drove through the M50 failing to stop at traffic lights, and exited onto the Tallaght Road, heading towards Templeogue.

A third Garda car joined the pursuit near the Spawell roundabout. Ward’s car lost control then and crashed into a kerb.

It spun 180 degrees and ended up against the hedgerow of the central reservation of the Templeogue Road.

The report states that the car did not make contact with any of the pursuing Garda vehicles.

The accounts of gardaí and witnesses at the scene attested to what happened next:

Ward stepped out of the car and pointed the revolver at unarmed gardaí, who moved back upon seeing the weapon.

He then walked to a grassy verge and pointed the revolver at his head, but it failed to fire.

Ward then fired one shot into the ground, before shooting himself in the head and falling to the ground. The shot was fired just after midnight 27 January.

Ward received medical attention at the scene before being taken to Adelaide and Meath Hospital. He later died from his injuries

GSOC findings

A post-mortem examination found that Ward had died from a single gunshot wound to the head.

The gardaí referred the incident to GSOC, with officers attending the scene of the incident at about 2am that night.

GSOC officers interviewed the gardaí involved in the incident, as well as Ward’s girlfriend. They interviewed witnesses at the scene as well as relevant CCTV footage.

A detective at the ballistics section concluded that the bullet recovered from Ward’s body came from the revolver and no other gun.

A Garda investigation was unable to unable to establish how and where he obtained the revolver and its previous use.

GSOC stated that there was “strong cooperation” between GSOC and the gardaí throughout the investigation, which concluded in May 2015.

From the report:

The investigation found no evidence of Garda misconduct or wrong doing at any stage of their involvement with Mr Ward during this incident.

GSOC said that with regards to Article 2 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights, a file was sent to the DPP following the completion of the investigation. There were no prosecutions as a result of the incident.

If you need to talk, contact:

  • Samaritans 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org
  • National Suicide Helpline 1800 247 247 – (suicide prevention, self-harm, bereavement)
  • Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
  • Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email mary@pieta.ie – (suicide, self-harm)
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

Read: Over 130 gardaí have descended on Carlow and Kilkenny, arresting 35 people

Read: European award for Cork woman who lost family in crash with suicidal driver

About the author:

Cormac Fitzgerald

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