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Journalist drank himself to death, inquest rules

An inquest into the death of a former Scottish journalist has ruled that he died from self-induced alcohol abuse.

Joe Owens, 44, former chairman of the Scottish National Union of Journalists, was found dead by a cleaner at a bus station in Newport on the Isle of Wight in December 2009.

A three day inquest into his death began on Monday at Newport Coroners Court.

Following a unanimous verdict by the jury, Coroner John Matthews ruled that Mr Owens’ death was a result of his drinking.

During his journalism career Joe worked on the community title the Wester Hailes Sentinel and was later appointed editor of The Northender, a paper in Springburn/Possilpark in Glasgow.

While there he established a campaigning publication which was seen to hold local politicians to account as well as challenging the notorious drug dealers in that part of the city.

He went on to work for a wide range of daily papers as a casual sub before getting a contract with the Daily Record.

He later worked at the Cork Examiner in Ireland before returning to Scotland for a stint on the Record before becoming chief reporter on the Highland News in Inverness.

He then moved to Valencia before returning to the UK to work on the County Press on the Isle of Wight.

Shortly after his death, Paul Holleran, the NUJ’s Scottish organiser said “Joe Owens was a working-class intellectual, well-read and could argue politics ’til the cows came home’ but could still be full of fun.”

Reports following his death said he’d visited hospital the day before, complaining that a plaster cast he had on was too tight and causing him pain. He was later mistaken by a security guard as being drunk.

Police had then driven him to the bus station where he was found dead in the early hours of the morning.





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