George Nkencho death ‘untimely and unplanned’

Michael McHugh, PA
·3-min read

The sister of a black man shot dead by Irish police has told funeral mourners his death was untimely and unplanned.

George Nkencho, 27, died outside his Dublin home in December.

He was allegedly brandishing a knife and threatened gardai before he was shot by members of an armed support unit.

Mr Nkencho was suffering from mental health issues at the time.

George Nkencho death
Gloria Nkencho said her brother’s death was untimely (Brian Lawless/PA)

His sister Gloria Nkencho said: “This is in memory of my brother, for everything he stood for, for all that he believed in.

“It was untimely, unplanned and unwanted, but he is welcomed into the bosom of the Lord.

“He is at peace, he is happy, my family will be at peace.”

Mr Nkencho was born in Nigeria but moved with his family to Ireland when he was young.

On the day of his death Irish police were called to a shop in Hartstown on the Co Meath/Dublin border.

Police said there was a chase on foot and the man threatened officers with a knife, so an armed support unit was deployed.

The force has said the unit was also threatened with a knife and implemented a graduated policing response where Taser and pepper spray was initially administered but failed to restrain him.

Shots were discharged by gardai and the matter was referred for independent investigation.

George Nkencho funeral
Around 100 people gathered outside the church for the funeral (Brian Lawless/PA).

Only 10 people were inside the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in the capital on Saturday for the funeral, in line with Covid-19 rules.

About 100 friends and neighbours gathered outside the church.

Some held posters in his memory, including Black Lives Matter.

Another displayed his image and said: “Farewell George – we won’t forget, we’ll stand for justice and truth.”

The hearse carried a picture of the victim alongside his white coffin.

A CD, a flag and notebook were placed on the coffin inside the church by members of Mr Nkencho’s family.

His sister said: “Remember George for not what they said about him, but for who he is and for who he will forever be in our hearts.

“A brother, a son, a nephew, a best friend, a cousin, a team-mate, a classmate, a partner.

“He is at peace and we love you.”

The cleric who conducted the service said the law should be allowed to do its work and investigations were ongoing.

He added: “Be patient with the appropriate authorities, that is the only advice I will give to the whole family.”

The priest said hearts were broken.

He added: “A sudden death of a loved one is like an unexpected power outage, it changes our lives in the blink of an eye and turns our lives upside down.

“I know you all feel the same way and are devastated by George’s death.

“Natural death is not easy to accept – how much more a tragic (one)?”