The family of Terence Wheelock have released photos of injuries he is believed to have suffered in garda custody as they called for a public inquiry into his death.
Wheelock, a 20 year old young man from Summerhill in the North Inner City of Dublin, died on the 16 September 2005, apparently from injuries received in Garda custody.
Terence was arrested with three others on suspicion of stealing a car and taken to Store St Garda station. Two hours later he was found unconscious in his cell.
However, on the 13 May 2007, a jury at the coroner’s court returned a verdict of death by suicide.
Gardai have repeatedly said that Wheelock left the Store St station without any physical injuries apart from a ligature wound to his neck.
However, the photos released at the weekend -- taken by a clinical photographer at the Mater Hospital -- show significant bruising to his body on the legs and back, as well as badly cut hands.
A garda statement at the time said: “Some media reports refer to extensive bruising on Terence’s body. The gardai see no reason for this nor were they noticed by the gardai or Dublin Fire Brigade personnel who attended the incident.”
The photographs also show a mysterious wound to his back that was not explained in a report by the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission report into his death, which was published last week. The report vindicated the gardai.
The Wheelock family questioned why the Garda Ombudsman had not published the photographs of Terence’s injuries as part of the report.
Larry Wheelock, Terence’s brother, said: “I cannot understand how it took three years to carry out this report, which has the same findings as an inquest into his death, which took a week.”
The idea that Terence had hanged himself is one which continues to be contested by his family. According to his brother, Terence was “a healthy, happy-go-lucky young man with no history of self-harm and for him to have committed suicide would have been entirely out of character”.
He said his brother was in fact “a victim of police brutality and high-ranking members of the force have actively attempted to cover up what really happened”.
The family now plan to take their case to Europe but have repeated their call for justice minister Dermot Ahern to launch a public inquiry.