Family's anger at inquest into prisoner's death

A prisoner serving life for the murder of his wife committed suicide on the anniversary of his arrest for the killing, an inquest has heard.

Now, the family of Gerard Kavanagh, who died four years ago aged 43 in his cell at HMP Garth, in Leyland, blame the prison service for giving him enough anti-depressants to kill himself – despite knowing he had attempted suicide before.

A jury at an inquest at Lancaster Shire Hall returned a narrative verdict that Mr Kavanagh, who always protested his innocence, took his own life by an overdose of Dothiepin, which he was prescribed for depression.

But his family say they are furious that the jail allowed him to have enough medication in his possession to be able to kill himself.

They argued at the inquest that he should not have been in possession of 14 tablets despite the prison knowing he had attempted to hang himself on previous occasions and self harm, with no medical review for over three months.

The jury heard from an expert toxicologist Professor Forest that Dothiepin was a lethal cardiotoxic poison and 14 tablets would be enough to kill. Coroner Dr James Adeley drew up a list of recommendations under Rule 43 of the coroners' rules for prisons to follow in the light of this death.