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Friday, 24 October 2014

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37-year-old found hanged from fire bell in hostel

By Mark Preskett

A CARLISLE man with a long history of alcohol abuse hanged himself with a net curtain at a hostel for the homeless.

James Ruddy, 37, was found hanged from a fire bell by two police officers in his room at Carlisle’s John Street hostel in September 2004.

An inquest heard that he was the third resident from the hostel to have died in tragic circumstances late last year.

It came two weeks after the deaths of 54-year-old Dennis McGarr, who was found dead in his room on September 13, and that of Jimmy Atkinson, 56, whose death in Carlisle’s Bitts Park led to a murder investigation.

Officers were called after Mr Ruddy refused to the leave the hostel for being drunk which breached his condition of residence, an inquest heard.

His ex-fiancee Pauline Jones said Mr Ruddy had moved in with her at her Carlisle home in November 2002 but the relationship suffered because of his drinking.

She said: “Without drink he was a different person. We had arranged to get married at Carlisle Register Office in 2003 but he was particularly violent at that time.”

Mr Ruddy was twice charged with grievous bodily harm against her and as a result was remanded to Durham prison.

On the evening of September 23, the John Street hostel manager Tammy Welsh said she had stopped Mr Ruddy at the front door and asked him to hand over a bottle of sherry, which he had hidden in his jacket.

She said: “He did so but later left the hostel and came back with more drink.

“When he came back I refused to let him in but he asked if could come in to get some warm clothes.

“I left him in his room for a while and when I went to check on him later he was lying fully clothed in his bed.

“That’s when I called the police who found him hanged from the net curtain.

“I was really shocked.

“It was the last thing I had expected.”

Deputy coroner David Osborne recorded an open verdict into the death of Mr Ruddy.

He said: “We simply do not know beyond reasonable doubt what Mr Ruddy’s intentions were.

“He could have hung himself as a cry for help or to garner sympathy from staff at the hostel.”

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