Belfast Telegraph

Heart attack killed UDA murderer in his jail cell

A convicted loyalist murderer was found dead in his cell just hours after complaining of chest pain.

Medical staff and the prisoner had brushed off the pain as indigestion or a side-effect of an ongoing illness, an inquest into his death has heard.

James ‘Harry’ Speers (49) — serving a life-sentence in the loyalist wing of Maghaberry prison for the brutal murder of father-of-two Trevor Lowry — died in his cell in February 2008.

The UDA killer was found dead following a heart attack that struck after two days of chest pain, which he himself had brushed off as wind.

His wife Sharon told the Belfast |inquest yesterday that he had told her he had suffered from chest pain and a pain down his left arm a few days prior to his death. He had “shrugged it off” she said.

She told the court that Speers had suffered from a condition called colitis, which had continued to flare up throughout his life. He had been going through such a flare-up in the months before his death.

On the day of his death Speers had visited a consultant gastroenterologist at the Belfast City Hospital in relation to his colitis. On his return to Maghaberry he complained of |having chest pain and a nursing |officer visited him in his cell.

Prison nurse Paul Rooney said the prisoner had told him his pain was easing throughout their consultation.

Barely three hours later Speers was found dead in his cell.

In his report, assistant state pathologist Peter Ingram said: “Death was from natural causes.”

Belfast Telegraph

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