26/06/2012

Lifer Found Hanged In Cell

A prisoner who was serving a life sentence for murder has been found hanged in his cell.

Christopher Stokes, 37, from Londonderry, was found in a collapsed state on Monday at Maghaberry jail in County Antrim.

He was just over a year into his jail time for the murder, with two other people, of John Mongan, who was killed in front of his heavily pregnant wife in west Belfast in 2008.

At the time of Stokes's trial last year, it was reported that members of his extended family applauded in court as he and his two fellow killers were led to the cells.

Staff tried to revive him but he was pronounced dead just before midnight. A ligature was found in his cell.

A Prison Service spokesman said: "The Northern Ireland Prison Service can confirm the death in custody of a prisoner in Maghaberry last night."

The PSNI, coroner and Prisoner Ombudsman have been notified and investigations are ongoing. His family have been informed.

Prison Service acting director general Max Murray said: "On behalf of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, I would like to extend my sympathy to the family. This is a tragedy and my thoughts are with them at this difficult time."

(NE)

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