the inquest into the death of a woman who died after a suspected drugs overdose in Limerick Prison has been adjourned for a second time.
Pamela Graham, 26, was pronounced dead at St John’s Hospital in Limerick, on September 17, 2008.
The mother of one was transferred to hospital from her cell at Limerick Prison after allegedly taking an overdose of heroin.
The deceased was at the time serving a three-year term for possession of cocaine worth €15,000, which was imposed in April of that year after she was extradited from the US.
This Wednesday, at Limerick Coroner’s Court, her brother Marcus, from Caherdavin, applied to have the case adjourned as the family’s legal representation in the case was not available.
Coroner Tony Casey said this was “a terrible waste of State time”, as all representatives from all the relevant authorities in this case had made themselves available, including the jury.
He said this was the second time the case had been adjourned, which he said was “rather disturbing”, adding that the legal representation for the deceased’s family would have been made aware of this hearing in late July.
The initial hearing was adjourned because her family could not be contacted on that occasion, and inquests cannot be heard without the presence of the deceased’s family members unless they give permission to allow for it to be heard in their absence.
Prison medics discovered Graham unconscious in the cell she shared with two other women and were able to resuscitate her. She was taken to St John’s Hospital, where she remained for five days in a critical condition and on life-support.
At the time of her death it was reported there were conflicting views on whether she had sought medical attention on the night she died.
Graham, from Davin Gardens, Caherdavin, was jailed for three years in April 2008 after pleading guilty to having cocaine in the boot of a car, which she had parked outside Henry Street Garda station in November 2006.
She had appeared before Limerick Circuit Court a number of months after she was extradited from the US following her apprehension by officers attached to the department of homeland security.
At that time, she was described by barrister Brian McInerney as a “chronic drug addict”.
She also had previous convictions for theft, including stealing nine gold chains, worth €5,650 from a jewellers in the city centre, as well a television from another store, apparently to fund her drug addiction.
An exclusion order from entering Dunnes Stores also had to be imposed around the same time.
Solicitor John Devane said his client was someone who “had fallen through the safety net of life” and was “in the throes of heroin addiction at the time” of the thefts.
But he also said she was a “beautiful woman with a beautiful child and a partner in the United States; she had everything to live for once she got out of prison”.
She was buried in Mount St Oliver cemetery. It is expected the inquest will be heard in November.
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