Belfast Telegraph

Killer died after taking cocaine in days following jail release

By Allan Preston

The mother of a killer who died after taking cocaine days following his release from prison has said that despite his crimes "he meant the world to me".

Francis McColgan's mother found her son dead and surrounded by drug paraphernalia at his apartment on Belfast's King Street on June 12 last year.

He had been released on parole from Maghaberry Prison just two days beforehand.

An inquest at Belfast's Laganside Courts yesterday heard that McColgan had an undiagnosed heart condition, and that the cocaine he had taken could have been the "tipping point" that led to his death.

In her ruling, Coroner Suzanne Anderson told the hearing: "Death was due to coronary atheroma and left ventricular hypertrophy in association with cocaine abuse."

McColgan, who died aged 41, was known to police and had been in an out of jail.

In 1991 he was a passenger in a stolen car that crashed into a taxi, killing Maureen Brammeld, a mother-of-one who was pregnant at the time of her death.

In 1997 he was charged with the murder of 23-year-old Kevin Taylor, from west Belfast, who was beaten and stabbed after a group of men forced their way into a house party.

Five people were convicted of the killing, but McColgan fled to Cork while on bail and evaded police for nine years.

During this time he worked in a shop under an assumed name before he was eventually spotted in a restaurant in 2004. A seven-year sentence was issued after he admitted to manslaughter.

Last year the family of Kevin Taylor said that they took no joy in McColgan's death, but they added: "He robbed of us of a much-loved and very special person and robbed Kevin's son of a loving dad."

At yesterday's inquest, McColgan's mother, Mary, told the court that her son had been in and out of prison his whole life. She added that she was "aware he was around" drugs, but explained and she did not know he took them and, as such, was shocked to find his body.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph afterwards, a tearful Mrs McColgan said: "He meant the world to me. He made mistakes, but he broke his heart with the mistakes that he made. He has cried with me about them. I would ask everybody to stay away from drugs."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph