Widow seeks facts on how her husband died

The widow of a man found hanged in his cell at Magilligan Prison claimed yesterday that she has been kept in the dark about how he met his death.

Patrick Mongan, a member of the Travelling community, died on October 19 2003. His widow Julia says she has still not been told the outcome of investigations carried out by the Prison Service and the police.

“I do not understand why the prison service will not provide me with a copy of the papers relating to their own internal review,” she said in a High Court application for leave to seek a judicial review.

Mrs Mongan, who lives at Carnhill Estate in the Shantallow area of Derry, is challenging the Prison Service’s refusal.

“I am concerned that it may be because they have something to hide in relation to my husband’s death,” she said.

Barrister Fiona Doherty argued that Mrs Mongan’s European Convention rights had been breached as Article 2 required that investigations into deaths in prison must be concluded “promptly” and must be “accessible”.

Mrs Mongan is also seeking a judicial review of the delay in completing the police investigation and the holding of an inquest.

“This has been a terrible time for my family. I just want to know how and why my husband died. I am finding it difficult to move on with my life and cannot find closure in relation to Patrick’s death due to the delay in the police investigation and inquest,” she said.

Granting leave, Mr Justice Girvan described the delay as outrageous.

He said the whole system was being defeated by such delay and needed “shaking up”.

Welcoming the judge’s ruling, a spokesman for Mrs Doherty’s solicitors Madden and Finucane said: “Her husband died in tragic circumstances almost 18 months ago and she is still no further forward in learning about the circumstances of his death.”