independent

Thursday 31 July 2014

Mark seemed 'normal' just an hour before his death

Published 07/11/2012|09:55

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Members of the Garda Technical Bureau examining the scene of Mark Ward's death on the Avenue Road.

'MARK DIED in the street, in the arms of those who were holding him,' the Ward family said at the inquest into the 32 year old's tragic death.

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His father Tony told the inquest 'Mark was making his way home, home to his mother.'

The family told how Mark had seemed very normal only a hour or so before his death. His father had seen him hours earlier in a bookies shop, and Mark had phoned his mother an hour before.

The inquest heard that circumstances surrounding Mark's death were investigated by the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC).

State pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy gave evidence that she had carried out the post mortem on Mark Ward, who had collapsed while being restrained on the Avenue Road. She found extensive abrasions and cuts on his body, but no significant internal injuries.

However toxicity tests showed he had consumed cocaine, amphetamines, methadone, ketamine, and a lethal level of ecstacy, along with diazepam.

Professor Cassidy said that cocaine is a known cause of cardiac arythmia, and Ketamine is taken as an hallucinogenic, which may have been responsible for Mark's unusual behaviour.

Coroner Roman Maguire asked about the use of pepper spray. Prof. Cassidy said there had been no evidence of it in his system.

She spoke directly to the family about Mark's behaviour being normal only an hour or so before his death, adding that the drugs which had been taken provide a 'rapid response' so his behaviour could have dramatically changed within that hour.

The family called for a clampdown on houses where drugs can easily be obtained. 'I would not want anyone else to die like this,' said Mrs. Ward.

Sgt. Eugene Collins said an incident room had been set up, following Mark's death, and this aspect had been fully investigated.

Coroner Ronan Maguire questioned the use of a ' bungee cord' in the attempts to restrain Mr. Ward's legs.

The inquest heard that although velcro straps are standard issue in other police forces, they are not part of the kit provided to An Garda Siochana.

The Coroner said it was 'about time this was considered' and recommended that gardaí be issued with purpose designed straps for these reasons.

The jury returned a verdict of misadventure.

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