Man found hanged in Armley Jail cell

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A prisoner hanged himself in Armley Jail despite being on suicide watch, an inquest was told.

Gavin Lee Hogg, 35, a motor mechanic, formerly of Wellhouse Lane, Mirfield, was found dead in his cell in February 2007.

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He had attached his bedsheet to a bolt in the wall and used it as a ligature.

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He had been jailed for 20 years at Leeds Crown Court for stabbing a man to death in a long-running dispute over property.

His mother Christine Watson told the inquest: "I don't condone what my

son did because I know another mother lost her son. But my son was provoked."

She said Mr Hogg expected to get a sentence of two years and was shocked when he was given 20 years.

"I was distraught because he had never been in prison before," she said, "and my view was he wouldn't survive in there. He couldn't be locked up."

He was devastated when his appeal against his sentence was dismissed and he kept saying he didn't want to live.

She said he made a tearful call in which he told her: "I will be 54 when I get out and I will never see you again – only on visits."

Coroner David Hinchliff asked: "Did you think he would take his own life?"

Mrs Watson replied: "Oh yes."

She said he was deteriorating every time she saw him and he made out a new will, witnessed by prison officers, in which he left everything to her.

He was put in a single cell for his safety and he was regularly

watched. But he was found dead at 4am, just 30 minutes after he was last inspected.

Mrs Watson said: "I couldn't understand how a prisoner who was closely monitored should have the chance and means to commit suicide."

She said his jaw was broken by another prisoner and he had to have an operation.

"The governor asked him to pursue a claim against the other man," said Mrs Watson, "But he declined because he said they would get at him for

being a grass."

She said her son had overcome challenges to set up his own business. He suffered intermittently from Crohn's Disease, an inflammation of the bowel. "But he had a clientele who would wait for him until he was well again," she said.

The inquest is expected to last for three weeks.


Millennium Square and Leeds Civic Hall, Leeds City Centre.

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