Mum's tribute to 'loving son' at inquest into Hartlepool prisoner's jail death
A mother paid tribute to her “loving son” at the start of a jury inquest into his death in jail.
The body of Hartlepool-born Gary Gollaglee was discovered in his cell at Kirklevington Grange Prison, near Yarm, on Christmas Eve 2017.
Tests later revealed that Mr Gollaglee, who had reduced his medical prescription of heroin substitute methadone, had taken additional quantities of methadone and two other drugs.
The jury of six women and five women are now listening to evidence from police, doctors, nurses, prison staff and prisoners about the circumstances surrounding the 33-year-old’s death.
At the start of Tuesday’s inquest at Teesside and Hartlepool Coroners’ Court, a statement written by Mr Gollaglee’s mother, Lynne Murray, from Hartlepool, was also read out.
In it, she said her first-born child was “loved by all the family” and was a “beautiful baby”.
Despite health problems as a child, which meant he was taken out of mainstream education, he still passed his GCSEs and was later employed as a carpet fitter.
His mother accepted he had smoked cannabis from an early age and said that “later in life I was told he was using heroin”.
But she also added: “Gary was a caring and loving son who had many friends and no-one had a bad word to say about him. He was loved and supported by his family all his life.”
Her statement concluded: “I will always miss Gary and never get over his death. The last time I saw him he looked well and had no signs of drug use.”
Evidence from Tania Golightly, a prison nurse who regularly dispensed methadone to Mr Gollaglee, also suggested he had shown no signs of secretly taking drugs.
Her statement read: “When I returned back to work after this happened and was told he had had a death in custody, I was absolutely shocked and could not believe it. He was the last person I would ever have expected.”
Acting Sergeant Jeff Fleet, of Cleveland Police, said suspicious circumstances had been ruled out and that the combined levels of methadone, zopiclone and pregabalin, which are sleeping pills and painkillers respectively, had “unfortunately proved fatal”.
His statement added: “It is not known where he obtained the zopiclone or pregabalin and extra methadone.
“However, drug smuggling and drug use is common in all prisons.”
The inquest is expected to continue on Wednesday before finishing on Thursday.