Northern Ireland-born paedophile Gallagher facing return to prison killed himself, inquest finds
A paedophile from Northern Ireland took his own life as he faced the prospect of being jailed for a third time for downloading indecent images of children.
Christopher Gerard Gallagher (65) had been due to appear in court on three counts of making indecent photographs of a child, and for breaching the terms of the sex offenders' register.
Police officers on a random visit to his home in West Shore Park, Walney, Cumbria, spotted that he'd installed file deletion software on his computer, in breach of a sexual offences prevention order.
Gallagher, who moved from Londonderry two years ago, took his life before his court appearance, an inquest on Wednesday at Barrow Town Hall was told.
On July 3, 2017 Detective Constable Daniel Chadwick and a colleague visited Gallagher's home.
During the visit DC Chadwick examined Gallagher's computer, noticing a desktop icon that he suspected was a piece of file deletion software.
The inquest heard one of the restrictions on Gallagher was that he was not to install any software that could delete files from his computer.
Gallagher was arrested on suspicion of breaching the conditions of his SOPO and bailed under investigation. It was not until five weeks later, following analysis of his computer's hard drive, that indecent images of children were found.
On August 16 Gallagher was rearrested and charged. When interviewed, Gallagher is reported to have said "he would be responsible for anything that was on there (the computer)".
On the same day Gallagher was bailed to appear before South Cumbria Magistrates Court on September 6, 2017.
On September 7 DC Chadwick was informed Gallagher had missed his day in court.
As he had already appeared before the courts on similar charges, this failure to attend was deemed unusual.
DC Chadwick said: "He seemed to be able to take it in his stride, but, he had realised his life was about to change."
The officer then went to Gallagher's home to investigate.
He said: "Around 10.30am the windows were shut, the curtains were shut, and you could not see in.
"A neighbour said she'd not seen him in a while."
The door to the property was unlocked and upon entering the living room the body of Gallagher was found. He was dressed in a T-shirt and boxer shorts.
Evidence recovered from the scene included a sealed letter explicitly stating if he was found, he did not want to be resuscitated.
A post-mortem revealed that, prior to his death, Gallagher had a high blood-alcohol level of more than three times the legal drink-driving limit.
Coroner Paul O'Donnell said: "The method with which he killed himself was clearly thought through and planned.
"This was not a spontaneous act by Mr Gallagher.
"He had sourced from somewhere a very explicit note stating that he intended to take his own life. The alcohol in his system he had imbibed as part of the process of killing himself, rather than causing him to take his own life, whether it was 'Dutch courage' or another phraseology."