Northern Ireland news

Former IRA prisoner John Brady 'impulsively' killed himself inside police station

 Relatives of former IRA prisoner John Brady, Lorna and Margaret Brady, outside Omagh Court House. Michael McHugh/PA Wire
Michael McHugh, PA

A former IRA prisoner "impulsively" killed himself three minutes after he was left alone in a police station in Northern Ireland, a coroner has said.

John Brady, 40, died through hanging in an empty consultation room at Strand Road barracks in Derry in October 2009.

His solicitor John Finucane had just told him he was to be charged with an offence following an altercation with his brother-in-law.

Mr Finucane had left the room to talk to police, and returned to find that his client had killed himself, a court heard.

Coroner Joe McCrisken said there had been failings in Mr Brady's treatment by police.

"It seems to me that he acted impulsively having been told of the decision to charge, potentially having spent a short time ruminating about a further period of time in prison.

"I have said this before in other inquests, but it always bears repeating: suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem."

The PSNI officer in charge of the police custody suite thought Mr Brady had been placed in a cell with standard anti-suicide provisions built in.

He was actually in the consultation room alone and unsupervised, the coroner told the dead man's family at Omagh courthouse in Co Tyrone on Wednesday.

Mr Brady was from Strabane in Co Tyrone and was on temporary release from prison when the suspected offence happened.

The coroner said he was arrested in a proportionate fashion and properly assessed as being of low risk.

He did not criticise the decision to press charges.

Mr McCrisken added: "Certain steps were taken to protect Mr Brady while he was in custody but there was a critical failure to supervise him properly when he was placed into a consultation room after the decision to charge was taken."

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