Mum died due to drug use in wake of baby’s tragic death

Stephen Gallagher, who was Angela Cowan's partner when their daughter Skylar died.
Stephen Gallagher, who was Angela Cowan's partner when their daughter Skylar died.

The mum of a 14-week-old baby killed by her father when he was “horribly drunk” died a drug-related death, an inquest heard.

Angela Marie Cowan was found dead at a house in Peterlee on Saturday, January 16.

There came a time, at around midnight, when you attempted to change her nappy, which was dirty. You were so drunk you were unable to do so.

Judge John Milford

Tests showed she had a number of opiate drugs in her system.

The 40-year-old had faced a difficult time in the aftermath of the death of daughter Skylar Cowan Gallagher, whose father Stephen Gallagher, then 35, was jailed over the tragedy.

Skylar had been born seven weeks early and had been left in the care of her dad while Angela, known as Angie, went out for the night in June 2014.

Newcastle Crown Court heard when she left, her baby was content, clean and sleeping in her bouncy chair in the living room.

When the she returned early the next morning, her young daughter was lying face down and lifeless on the rug, without her nappy on.

Gallagher, was so drunk he urinated under the fish tank and was asleep on the sofa, with no memory of what had happened to his baby.

Despite Angie’s desperate efforts to get help, she was pronounced dead at hospital from asphyxiation.

Gallagher, of Hepscott Avenue, Blackhall Colliery, was not able to explain what exactly happened to Skylar.

Eleven empty cans of lager and cider were found by police, but he was unable to say how much he had drank.

He admitted causing or allowing the death of a child and was jailed for 32 months last November.

Judge John Milford, QC, told him: “There came a time, at around midnight, when you attempted to change her nappy, which was dirty.

“You were so drunk you were unable to do so.”

The inquest into Angie’s death heard there was nothing which pointed to any intention by her to harm herself or cause her death.

Police officers who investigated her death found needle marks indicating drug use.

Coroner Andrew Tweddle concluded she died of a drug-related death and there was no third-party involvement.