Authority needed to govern standards in prison says inquest

An inquest into the death of an Inniskeen man who took his own life in a holding cell before appearing in court has failed to determine exactly how he found the cord which he used to hang himself.

Shane Rogers (32), from Deery’s Terrace, Inniskeen had confessed to the murder of GAA footballer James Hughes after a late night argument over a former girlfriend of Rogers.

The inquest has also recommenedt that an authority be set to oversee standards in prisons.

The inquest heard that Rogers had said that he planned to take his own life and when he remanded in custody, he was placed in a section for vulnerable inmates.

Giving evidence in the case a Garda Shane Fox said that in all likelihood the ligature was the cord from a hoodie.

Shane Roger’s brother , David Rogers. told the inquest that he had brought a bag full of clothes to Carrickmacross District Court, including a hoodie.

However, the inquest heard that Rogers was wearing his ‘courtwrap’ on the day of his death, the same as whne he first arrived at Cloverhill Prison.

Governor Ronan Maher, giving evidence, said that CCTV footage shows he was not wearing a hoodie on arrival. A hoodie was, however, logged in the contents of the navy holdall. Mr Rogers would not have had access to the bag, he said.

When asked by coroner Dr Brian Farrell if it would be possible to conceal a cord on entry into prison, Mr Maher said the prison only carries out external searches. and that Rogers had access to the hoodie before he got to the prison.

Mr Maher said that prison records showed that the navybag was given to gardai but not signed for. Barrister for the family, James McGowan, said the record before the inquest only refers to the court wrap being collected by gardai. Mr Maher conceded that the hoodie and the navy holdall could not be accounted for.

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said the jury could accept that, on the balance of probability, the ligature used was a cord from a hoodie but the evidence is “silent” on how the dead man came to have it.

It is also not possible to say precisely which hoodie the cord came from, he said.

He told the jury that there was no question of third party involvement in the death and it is plain from the evidence that Mr Rogers took his own life.

In addition to the suicide verdict, the jury made a number of recommendations including the setting up of a national authority to oversee the development of standards in prison.


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