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Monday 22 September 2014

Murder accused made will before hanging himself in jail

Gareth Naughton

Published 20/09/2013 | 04:00

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Shane Rogers: 'distraught and very obviously suicidal'

A MURDER accused who hanged himself in a courthouse holding cell had instructed his solicitor to draw up his will just days beforehand, an inquest heard.

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Shane Rogers' solicitor said: "I explained that he was more or less giving me a suicide note, which was causing me a lot of difficulty."

Rogers (32) from Deery's Terrace, Inniskeen, in Co Monaghan, died after hanging himself following a remand hearing at Cloverhill Courthouse on December 20, 2011. He had been charged with the murder of Crossmaglen GAA player James Hughes (35) in a shooting incident in Dundalk, Co Louth, nine days earlier.

His solicitor Martin Crilly told Dublin Coroner's Court that after Rogers had been charged on the evening of Monday, December 12, his client was "very distraught and very obviously suicidal".

Rogers told him that he intended to kill himself at the first opportunity.

"All he wanted to talk about was that his funeral expenses would be paid for," he said. Rogers asked him to draw up a will. He said Rogers was very concerned that his remorse be conveyed during his first appearance at Dundalk District Court after being charged.

VULNERABLE

The inquest had previously heard that Rogers told several people that he intended to take his own life, but denied this when assessed by medics at Cloverhill Prison where he had been placed on remand.

However, he was being held in the vulnerable wing of the prison due to ongoing concerns for his safety. On the morning of his death, Rogers was taken to Cloverhill Courthouse, which is adjacent to the prison, for a remand hearing.

He was transferred into the custody of the Prison Service Escort Corp (PSEC).

Assistant chief officer George Finglas said that "at no stage" when he took custody of Rogers did anyone inform him that he was a "vulnerable or suicidal prisoner".

He knew that Rogers was being held in the vulnerable wing, but said that prisoners could be there for various reasons. A number of the officers giving evidence said that they were unaware of a 2007 directive that all prisoners in PSEC's custody should be checked every 15 minutes.

Rogers was last checked 50 minutes before PSEC officer Shane Moran found him hanging in his cell.

The post-mortem was carried out by state pathologist Dr Michael Curtis who gave the cause of death as hanging.

The inquest was adjourned to December 13 to hear further evidence.

Irish Independent

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