Gary Douche was beaten to death in a holding cell by a fellow prisoner in Mountjoy in August 2006. The ‘holding cell’ where Gary was held was located in the basement of Mountjoy prison. Gary had asked to be placed in protection as he feared that he was under threat from other prisoners. He was placed in a cell with six other prisoners – one of whom – Stephen Egan, killed him.
On the night that Gary was killed there were 525 people detained in a prison with a capacity for 470.
Stephen Egan was subsequently found guilty of Gary’s death on the charge of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility. He himself had been detained in Mountjoy without the appropriate psychiatric medication and at the time of the offence his trial heard that he had been experiencing paranoid persecutory beliefs. Following his conviction for the manslaughter of Gary Douche, Egan was transferred to the Central Mental Hospital.
A moving radio documentary entitled 21 years and 8 days on the life and death of Gary Douche was broadcast by RTE in April 2008: http://www.rte.ie/radio1/doconone/21years.html
A Commission into the Death of Gary Douche was established by the government in 2007 and is being led by a barrister Gráinne McMorrow. In April 2009, the Irish Times reported that 112 possible witnesses had already been identified by the Commission. The Commission has yet to publish its report and it is understood that its inquiries are ongoing.
Some of the likely issues to be raised are the continued chronic overcrowding in Irish prisons and the lack of adequate provision for prisoners with mental health conditions – issues that remain current concerns.
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