Garda Tadhg O’Leary, from Fitzgibbon Street Garda station, said Gardaí received a phone call from a woman on that day to report a car being brought into a back yard at Sean O’Casey Avenue and being covered with a sheet.
Garda O’Leary had a check run on the black Toyota Yaris, and the owner in Donnybrook confirmed it had been stolen. He later spotted four young men in the car.
“Terrence Wheelock, who was known to me, jumped from the passenger seat,” he said. “All four youths ran from the car into the back door of the house.”
Gardaí confirmed all four were surrounded in the square at the front of the house by officers and gave themselves up shortly after midday. The inquest heard Wheelock and another man were brought to Store Street Garda station. At that point, Garda O’Leary said he discovered two bench warrants were in existence for Wheelock and he would have to be held to appear before the District Court. “At the time of the arrest of the youths they were caught red-handed”, he said.
Terence Wheelock died in hospital on 16 December 2005 after he was found unconscious in a cell in Store Street Garda Station two weeks earlier.
An inquiry by the Garda Ombudsman into Wheelock's death found he was not mistreated in any way in Store Street Garda Station.
The Ombudsman's Report also found that an allegation that he was sexually assaulted was wholly without foundation and that there was insufficient evidence to support an allegation of assault.
While no individual garda was found to be culpable in relation to Wheelock's death, the report identified a number of system failures including the failure to remove the cord from his tracksuit and to properly record details in custody.
The Garda Síochána stated that Terence committed suicide while in his cell, hanging himself with a ligature which "was secured to a fixture which is countersunk into the wall". Kieran Bisset, a member of Dublin Fire Brigade who provide ambulance cover in the Dublin area, said a number of Gardaí were performing CPR on the unconscious man when the Fire Brigade were called after 2.30pm.
“There was an obvious ligature mark around the front of his neck,” he said, adding it was deep and previous experience would indicate it was from a cord or a shoelace.
The Gardaí stated that on observing Terrence in the cell they took him into the open cell area where CPR was performed
Wheelock's family contested the idea that Terence had hanged himself. According to his brother Larry, "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." His family believe that Wheelock died as a result of injuries received from the gardaí while in custody.
According to Larry Wheelock, Terrances' brother, Terrence 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 Dublin City Coroner's Court earlier heard that bruising on Mr Wheelock were consistent with medical intervention.
Dr Maureen Smith from the Forensic Science Laboratory told the court she was unable to generate a DNA profile from the tissue sample she was given from the post mortem. Using blood samples, she determined that blood found on Mr Wheelock's T-shirt was not his blood, but most likely that of a close relative, a matter she said that merited further investigation.
As per normal procedure Terence should have been checked in his cell on a regular basis. According to the station records ten minutes before he was found unconscious he was inspected and it was believed that he was asleep. Ten minutes later Gardaí state they found him hanging from a light fixture. The ambulance was called approximately 5 minutes after Terence was found in his cell. The delay was blamed on Gardaí trying to perform CPR and first aid prior to contacting Dublin Fire Brigade. Gardaí admitted that this was an error on their part.
The Wheelock family claim that Gardaí called to the Wheelock house, informed Terence’s mother Esther that her son had hanged himself, and told her that he was in St. James’s Hospital on the south side of Dublin. These Gardaí then drove her to St. James’s. They claimed not to know the way to get there and Esther says she had to direct them. Terence had in fact been brought to the Mater Hospital on the north side of Dublin and much nearer to the Wheelock family home and Store Street Garda station. By the time his family became aware of this and went to the Mater Hospital his clothing had been taken away by Gardaí. Terence was in a coma. Gardaí from Store Street Garda station had no input into what hospital be used nor would their work include detailed knowledge of the southside.
The Garda press statement mentioned that there was no evidence of any bruising on Terence’s body. This was contradicted by his family who saw him in the hospital, and also by photographs taken in hospital. These photographs were all later explained as medical intervention which took place in hospital and after he was removed from Garda custody.
When the family managed to get hold of the custody records the names of the arresting Gardaí had been altered to show another name which Gardaí explained was due to an error in recording the incorrect name. Gardaí also stated that this amendment was made at the time of arrival and not later. The Wheelock family had to make many attempts to recover Terence’s clothes for independent forensic examination. These attempts were continually rebuffed by the Dept of Justice. When the family finally received the clothes worn by Terence, they claim they clothing was found to be heavily bloodstained. However, medical evidence shows that the blood was not Terrences and therefore could not have been present at the time of Terrence being taken to hospital. How blood from a family relative came to be on the clothes after they were released has never been explained by the family.
The Garda Commissioner appointed Detective Superintendent Oliver Hanley from Dun Laoghaire Garda Station to look into the events around Terence’s death. Hanley served in Store Street station for over fifteen years. Therefore, it has been questioned whether he could be said to be truly independent.
According to the family, they were also subject to intimidation and even attacks from the Gardaí because of their campaign for an investigation.On the May 17, 2006, Larry, Terence's brother was distributing leaflets about their family's campaign. According to him, "he was approached by a guard who tore up the leaflets and then tried to arrest him. The Wheelock family also claim harassment however Garda sources state that the reason for extra Gardaí in the area was to combat ongoing anti-social behaviour in the area."
On July 3, 2006, The Wheelock family moved from their home in Summerhill where they had lived for over twenty years. Larry Junior said "we couldn't stick it anymore, the Garda harassing us, it was getting worse and worse. Day after day they were using horses and dogs, and shining lights into the house, laughing and joking at all hours. They looked a sad lot. It was very upsetting for my mother and father. So that is why we decided to move. Hopefully they won't have another excuse at our new home." No evidence was brought forward supporting these allegations nor were any complaints made to the Garda Ombudsman.
There were protests in favour of an independent inquiry on the death of Terence Wheelock. They took place in many locations including Store Street Garda Station, Dáil Éireann, The Minister for Justice's office and Bertie Ahern's constituency office.In July 2007, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission announced that it would carry out an investigation into the case. Terence's brother, Larry Wheelock told journalists that an official from the Ombudsman's office had contacted the family to inform them it was to launch an inquiry for various reasons. Among these, he said, were that it is in the public interest to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death; the close nature of the verdict (a four-to-three majority), and the injuries on Terence's body. The GSOC report, which was published in March 2010, found that there was no credible evidence that Mr Wheelock had been mistreated.