Hartlepool man died after taking cocktail of drugs in prison

A Hartlepool man died after taking a cocktail of methadone and two other drugs in prison, an inquest has ruled.

Thursday, 31st October 2019, 6:00 am
Teesside Coroner's Court
Teesside Coroner's Court

A jury at Teesside and Hartlepool Coroner’s Court in Middlesbrough returned a verdict of misadventure on Gary Gollaglee, whose body was discovered in his room at Kirklevington Grange Prison, near Yarm, on Christmas Eve 2017.

Tests later revealed that 33-year-old Mr Gollaglee, who had been reducing his medical prescription of heroin substitute methadone, had taken additional quantities of the drug along with two others.

A report from the North East Ambulance Service said he had showed signs of rigor mortis and post-mortem, suggesting he had been dead for some time when he was found.

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Coroner Clare Bailey said an investigation by the prison ombudsman had highlighted the fact that that no-one on duty at the time was a registered first-aider.

She also asked Governor Andrew Haslam about the fact that recognised medical codes, to indicate Mr Gollaglee was not breathing, had not been used and that two support workers who first found the body had been concerned about entering the room because they had not received personal safety training.

“The prison has a duty of care and it does not appear correct or ethical that a person may be in a situation where they are having difficulty breathing and there is a considerable delay in them receiving first aid,” said Ms Bailey.

“I am concerned that it appears from the staff that have given evidence that they have not received the training they ought to have received.”

Mr Haslam, who took over at the prison in July, told the court there was now a first aid-trained member of staff on duty ‘24 hours a day, seven days a week,’ and he had drawn up a list of those who needed personal safety training and was in the process of organising it.

Ms Bailey said she had planned to submit an official Report to Prevent Future Deaths highlighting the issues raised, but she was prepared to give Mr Haslam two months to write to her, setting out his timetable to tackle them.