News

Inquest opens into Dombroski death

  • Mark Dombroski

An American teenage rugby player found dead at the bottom of a steep drop was in a bad mood because of problems with his girlfriend, a coroner’s inquest heard yesterday.

Jack Heffernan, a team-mate and friend of Mark Dombroski, told investigators in a taped interview after his friend’s body was found, that Mr Dombroski had admitted he and his girlfriend had quarrelled.

Mr Heffernan said: “I think he cheated on her and then told her about it.”

The audio testimony came during the first day of a three-day inquest into the death of the 19-year-old Philadelphia university student.

Mr Heffernan said that Mr Dombroski had been drinking at Warwick Camp, where the team was staying during the competition.

But he said: “He was not drinking as much as everybody else.”

Mr Heffernan said he and Mr Dombroski had stopped at Front Street bar Docksider before meeting team-mates at the nearby Dog House bar.

He said that Mr Dombroski had consumed “no more than two drinks” at Docksider.

Mr Heffernan, who admitted he had had a “fair amount” to drink, said that he remembered speaking to Mr Dombroski at the Dog House but did not remember details of the conversation.

He added that Mr Dombroski had not seemed too upset.

Mr Dombroski’s body was found in the dry moat at Fort Prospect, near the Bermuda Police headquarters, on March 19.

He went missing a day-and-a-half earlier after he left alone after a night out with friends in Hamilton.

Mr Dombroski was in Bermuda with a team from St Joseph’s University to play in the Ariel Re Bermuda International Sevens tournament.

His family were at the

inquest.

Brendan Mulqueen, another team-mate, told investigators that Mr Dombroski at first seemed to be having a good time at the Dog House.

But he said that Mr Dombroski later waved him away when he tried to talk to him.

Mr Mulqueen added that he did not notice Mr Dombroski become upset with anyone.

He said that he had called Mr Dombroski’s phone at around 2.30am after he got back at Warwick Camp but did not get an answer.

Mr Mulqueen said that the next day people had talked about Mr Dombroski being in a bad mood due to problems with his girlfriend.

Andrew Sullivan, another team-mate, added that Mr Dombroski was “happy” and “excited” when he saw him at the Dog House.

But he said Mr Dombroski’s mood changed over the course of the night.

Mr Sullivan told investigators: “You were able to notice a difference. He seemed like he didn’t want any part of the team.”

He said that Mr Dombroski punched a pillar outside the bar, which he left just before 1am.

Mr Sullivan said that he sent Mr Dombroski a text message at about 1.20am after he had arrived back at Warwick Camp because he was worried about him.

He added that he and other people had searched the barracks to check if Mr Dombroski had returned.

CCTV footage played at the inquest showed Mr Dombrowski’s movements from the time he arrived at the Dog House.

Footage from inside the club showed Mr Dombroski on the dancefloor jumping around and pumping an arm in the air.

Detective Constable Christopher Sabean said the footage showed Mr Dombroski consume a drink he had picked up from the stage in one gulp.

Mr Dombroski later appeared to have a beer in his right hand.

He was later captured on several CCTV cameras as he walked along Front Street in the direction of East Broadway.

In a number of the video clips his hand was raised to his head as if he was speaking on a phone.

Mr Sabean said that in all the videos “there is no one behind him”. Mr Dombroski was last captured on a motion-activated camera on Alexandra Road in Devonshire at about 1.30am.

Christopher Milroy, a Canadian forensic pathologist, said in March that a post-mortem examination he carried out had found no evidence of foul play in Mr Dombroski’s death.

Dr Milroy added that his exam concluded that Mr Dombroski died from a fall from a height. He said at the time that a toxicology exam would also be performed.

The inquest continues.

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