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Irishman ‘shot dead by girlfriend in Florida’


Wendy Hanks (33)

Wendy Hanks (33)

Wendy Hanks (33)

AN Irishman has been killed following a heated row with his girlfriend who allegedly shot him after she claimed he “battered her and approached her with a knife”.

Darren William Haverty, who was identified by police as an Irish national, was allegedly shot and killed in Holopaw, Osceola County, Florida last Tuesday by his girlfriend, Wendy Hanks  (33), who has since been charged with first degree murder.

The shooting occurred following an alleged argument between the pair.  The Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin today said it was aware of the killing of Haverty, who was born on 16 December 1973 and is believed to have hailed from Dublin.

A spokeswoman said they are offering consular assistance to Haverty’s family.

It is believed Haverty had lived in the United States for some considerable time.

A statement on the County Sherriff’s office in Osceola said: “Osceola County Sheriff's detectives have identified the victim killed on Harris Road as Darren William Haverty (DOB 12/16/73). Originally from Ireland, Haverty was currently living in Holopaw.”

It added that on Wednesday last, August 21, detectives arrested Wendy Hanks and charged her with the first degree murder of Haverty.

The Sunday Independent has obtained an initial Police report into the fatal shooting. According to that report, the fatal shooting was reported at 12.56 pm last Tuesday on Harris Road, a rural area, several miles east of Holopaw.

After responding to the emergency call, police deputies who arrived on the scene spoke with Hanks.

She told investigators Tuesday that she shot her boyfriend after being beaten and threatened with a knife while camping in eastern Osceola County.

The Police report states that she indicated “she and her boyfriend were involved in a verbal and physical altercation”.

“She told deputies he battered her and approached her with a knife when she shot him. Deputies located a male deceased at the scene.”

Hank told investigators on Tuesday that she shot her boyfriend after he assaulted her and threatened her with a knife while camping in eastern Osceola County. However, autopsy results and evidence found at the scene conflict with her account of what happened.

“During the investigation, detectives discovered evidence at the crime scene and during the autopsy that conflicts with Hank's statements of self defence. Based on this information, Hank was arrested and booked into the Osceola County Jail,” the police report stated.

As a result, she was charged with first degree murder on Wednesday. Hanks, 33, gave her address as Christmas in Orange County.

Local newspaper, the Orlando Sentinel has reported that Hanks was charged with premeditated murder and is being held in the Osceola County Jail without bond on a first-degree-murder charge.

One Dublin friend expressed shock on Twitter over the Irishman’s death. “Still can't believe this, I grew up with the bloke known him since primary school,” friend Niall Norton tweeted.

By Daniel McConnell

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