Tuesday 25 September 2018

'Six-day search for our son was torture', says father of tragic teen Jack

Jack Dinan (19)
Jack Dinan (19)

Gordon Deegan

The father of tragic teenager Jack Dinan has described the six-day search for his son as "torture".

At the inquest into the 19-year-old's death, Patrick Dinan also revealed that he and his wife Lorna had been worried about Jack's mental health in the weeks leading up to his disappearance.

Jack became a father the day after his body was found in a wooded area a mile from his home last November 6.

At his funeral Mass, Jack's sister Jade told mourners that little Keelan Jack "was born on November 7 and we are so, so grateful for this gift Jack has left behind".

She also made a plea to those feeling alone or lost to seek help, saying: "The pain of suicide is something I would never wish on another family."

At the inquest, consultant pathologist Dr Terezia Laszlo said it was likely that Jack's body had been in the wooded area for a number of days.

He went missing on October 31 with his father's rifle and some ammunition from the family home in Considine Road, Ennis.

Six days later, his body was found with a gunshot wound to the head.

The cause of death was recorded as brain damage secondary to a gunshot.

Coroner Isobel O'Dea recorded a narrative verdict.

While Jack was missing, his family had to contend with false reports that he was sighted at Blanchardstown Shopping Centre, resulting in gardai putting the mall in lockdown.

Speaking to the Dinan family, the coroner said: "I remember vividly the speculation in the media as to where Jack might have been and the trauma that would have caused when he was so close to you during all of that time."

In his deposition, Patrick Dinan said that in the couple of weeks before his disappearance, Jack had not left the house "and myself and my wife were worried about his mental health".

He said the family contacted the acute psychiatric unit in Ennis, and a crisis nurse and a doctor came to see Jack.

Mr Dinan said his son had been taking medication that he had been prescribed for only three or four weeks.

On the day that Jack went missing, Mr Dinan said his wife phoned him to say he was not at home.

His father returned home to see that his gun and ammunition, which he locked away, had been taken.

Mr Dinan said that on the morning that he went missing, Jack stuck his head into his sister's room and said, "Sorry for disturbing you".

"She was the last person to see him and she went back asleep," he said.

"We spent six long days looking for Jack and it was torture. We searched and searched and grasped for hope, but I knew after a few days that Jack was dead.

"He never left home much and he wouldn't have stayed away."

Mr Dinan said that the following Monday a garda sergeant and garda called at the door to say Jack's body had been found.

Local man Martin Barry, who had been out walking a friend's dog, said he spotted a foot "and I didn't want to see any more".

Dr Laszlo said no alcohol was found in Jack's system, but she did find evidence of the prescribed psychotic drug he was taking.

"It has sometimes different side-effects and can cause hallucination," she added.

Insp Paul Slattery sympathised with the Dinan family and told Mr Dinan: "It was pure torture that I saw in your face during the search."

Herald

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