Man 'told gardai of suicide plan before his death in jail'
A MAN who took his own life while in custody after confessing to a fatal shooting told gardai that he had also planned to shoot himself.
An inquest heard how Shane Rogers (32) was speaking to Sergeant Kieran Moore having handed himself in after he fatally shot Crossmaglen GAA player James Hughes (35) near Dundalk on the night of December 11, 2011.
Rogers, from Deerys Terrace in Inniskeen, Co Monaghan, died after hanging himself in a cell at Cloverhill Courthouse following a remand hearing just days later, on December 20, 2011.
A report into the incident released earlier this year found that he had not been checked for almost an hour before he was found.
The inquest into his death at Dublin Coroner's Court heard that on the night of the shooting, Rogers spoke to Sgt Moore shortly after 4am and said he had shot two people and thought they were dead.
It later emerged that James Hughes had been killed and his female friend Patricia Byrne (21) sustained facial and neck injuries.
Rogers was speaking to Sgt Moore in a "calm voice", the inquest heard. He told Sgt Moore that he had been sitting at a bridge for the previous 10 minutes "with the barrel of his shotgun in his mouth" but "couldn't do it" and wanted to hand in the weapon.
"It's a thin line, it's a thin line and I crossed it tonight," said Rogers.
When Sgt Moore retrieved the gun, it was loaded. When he removed the cartridge, Rogers told him: "That was the one for me, but I didn't have the balls."
Rogers was subsequently charged with the murder of Mr Hughes and taken to Cloverhill Prison. The court heard that he told a number of people that he intended to take his own life following his arrest.
Sgt Moore said that he overheard Rogers talking to his sister in Australia and telling her not to come home right away but to "wait for his funeral".
He also heard him tell other family members that he was remorseful and would like to die, said Sgt Moore. While being assessed on his committal to prison by nurse officer Elaine Dunne, Rogers said that he felt remorseful and full of regret.
He later told his cellmate Uja Iwo that he wanted to kill himself. However, Iwo told the court that Mr Rogers subsequently told him that he had "changed his mind".
When he was assessed by GPs and the psychiatric team at Cloverhill Prison, he denied any intention to harm himself.
However, it was decided not to move him to the general prison population. He was moved to a shared cell in the vulnerable wing due and he remained on close observation while there.
The inquest continues.