Gsoc investigation into shooting of George Nkencho delayed again

Investigation will not be complete by anniversary of incident despite previous indications

George Nkencho (27) was shot dead by a member of the Armed Support Unit outside his home in Clonee, Dublin 15 on December 30th, 2020. File photograph

George Nkencho (27) was shot dead by a member of the Armed Support Unit outside his home in Clonee, Dublin 15 on December 30th, 2020. File photograph

 

The Garda Ombudsman (Gsoc) investigation into the shooting death of George Nkencho by gardaí will not be completed by the anniversary of his death, despite previous indications.

Mr Nkencho (27) was shot dead by a member of the Armed Support Unit outside his home in Clonee, Dublin 15 on December 30th, 2020 during a stand-off with gardaí. He was armed with a knife and suffering from mental health difficulties at the time.

A Gsoc investigation was launched in the aftermath of the shooting as is standard procedure.

At a preliminary inquest hearing last July, Gsoc said it aimed to have its investigation complete by the first anniversary of Mr Nkencho’s death. Gsoc officer Stuart Duguid said at the time the investigation was “part-way” complete.

On Friday, a Gsoc spokesman said due to the “demands of the investigation” this deadline will not be met. The Nkencho family were told of the delay during a meeting with investigators on Wednesday.

A full inquest into Mr Nkencho’s death cannot take place until the conclusion of the Gsoc investigation. It may be delayed further if Gsoc decides to recommend to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) that charges be brought in relation to the shooting.

The Gsoc spokesman said it has told the Nkencho family that “significant progress has been made in the investigation, which has been the fruit of extensive inquiries.”

However, it said further work is required to ensure that all lines of inquiry which have arisen to date are fully investigated.

“As such, while it had been hoped to conclude by the anniversary of Mr Nkencho’s death in December 2021, GSOC informed the family that the demands of the investigation preclude this.”

Coroner update

Gsoc said it intends to complete the investigation as soon as possible and to keep the Nkencho family briefed on its progress.

“GSOC is very grateful to the Nkencho family for its engagement with us, at what continues to be a very difficult time for them. As this investigation remains ongoing, GSOC does not intend to comment further at this time.”

The spokesman said he could not say how much longer the investigation is likely to take or if the garda who fired the fatal shots has been interviewed yet.

Gsoc is due to update Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane at a further inquest hearing on December 14th.

Mr Nkencho died after being shot by the Garda Armed Support Unit outside his home shortly after he had assaulted a shop worker.

Following his death, gardaí said they had tried multiple non-lethal tactics to subdue Mr Nkencho prior to using deadly force.

A pathology report stated Mr Nkencho, whose family came to Ireland from Nigeria, died from “multiple gunshots wounds to the trunk with no contributory factors”.

The Nkencho family, which has since moved house after receiving hate mail following the shooting, has requested that the inquest also consider “broader questions of policing and discrimination”.