Tragic garda was looking forward to becoming a father
AN armed garda who had been looking forward to becoming a father died from a gunshot wound inflicted by his own pistol.
Garda Adrian Hickey, a plainclothes officer stationed in Tralee, was pronounced dead on May 21, 2012.
He had been on duty on the afternoon of Saturday, May 19, 2012 and had been issued with a standard Sig Sauer, the coroner's court in Tralee was told.
His fiancee Emily Curran was expecting their child.
The inquest heard that he had been upset about the relationship earlier in the week.
Garda Danielle Hegarty said that during the shift, Garda Hickey (pictured) was his usual talkative self and "in good form".
But he did not return from his meal break and at 8.24pm she received a text from him saying he was "trying to sort a few things".
Rita Hickey, his mother, said that he had been upset about his relationship earlier in the week.
His fiancee, Ms Curran, who lived nearby in Lis Ard, where she operated a hairdressing salon, told the Garda Ombudsman investigator how she had been going out with Adrian Hickey for one year and eight months. They had a good relationship and he was very attentive to her needs.
That Saturday, she had gone for coffee with a friend at 5.30pm. But she said Adrian was agitated because he had arranged to have dinner, although he hadn't given her a time.
"I told Adrian to calm down and cool off," Ms Curran said.
She went to bed at 1.30am and put her phone on silent. Some time after 3am she woke and heard a cracking sound and then snoring.
Downstairs she found Adrian was sitting on the garden bench and thought he was asleep.
"I felt his hand and it was freezing." There was a wound to his face.
Garda witnesses told of arriving at 3.55am and finding Garda Hickey seated on the garden bench of Ms Curran's house with a pistol and a beer can at his foot.
Dr Margot Bolster, who carried out the post-mortem, found he had a blood-alcohol concentration of 178mg.
The jury returned a verdict in accordance with medical evidence that he died of brain injury due to a single gunshot wound to the head.
Coroner Helen Lucey observed that there had been a double tragedy as Ms Curran also lost the baby.