Joe Owens Named In Newport Bus Station Death Mystery

Much-respected journalist died in Newport bus station.

Readers may remember the sad news last week when we reported that a body had been found at Newport Bus station early on Thursday morning.

Joe Owens Named In Bus Station DeathThe coroner’s inquest was opened and adjourned today during which the identity of the person was confirmed to as Scottish journalist, Joe Owens, who worked at the County Press.

It is understood (via the CP) that Mr Owens had been at St Mary’s Hospital the day before he was found dead, complaining that his plaster cast was too tight and causing him pain.

It was said that a security guard at the hospital mistook him for being drunk when he was later found asleep in the car park.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, he was found by a cleaner at the bus station and the police were called.

Former Scottish National Union of Journalists chair
Mr Owens, a former chair of the National Union of Journalists’ Scottish Council, moved to the Island to work as a sub-editor for the Isle of Wight County Press from Valencia, where he previously worked as news editor for a Spanish national news Website.

He is described by a former colleague on All Media Scotland as a talented journalist, great trade unionist, socialist and leading activist.

He leaves behind him not only his son, but what appears to be a great many friends in Scotland.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Image: Jonathan Gill under CC BY 2.0

Tuesday, 1st December, 2009 2:33pm



Filed under: Health, Isle of Wight News, Newport, x

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Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.


  1. So very sad. my heart goes out to his family and friends.

  2. A very sad story. RIP.

    • I believe the police took this poor man to th bus station and left him.Another care,following the lad who died in Liverpool and the lady who killed herself,of police being to b….y lazy to do there job.And since when were security guards qualified to decide if a person is drunk or sick

      • In Liverpool..the parents left their child with a relative who lived in a house where they bred killer dogs….yet we blame the police…talk about scapegoats

        • Get your facts right No 5.The police knew several months previously that possible illegal dogs were being bred at the address and did nothing about it.The Chief police officer in Liverpool has admitted they were wrong to ignore the report by a housing officer.

  3. Good point, I would of thought that it is relatively easy to tell if someone is drunk or not, cos of the smell of alcohol.
    And if the police did leave him at the bus station then this beggars the question of why??
    Also why did the hospital not treat him??
    Simon/Sal do you have any other details?

  4. Gary Clark

    1.Dec.2009 8:08pm

    as someone who new and grew up in the socialist movement in Edinburgh with Joe all i can say is that iam deep shock, dispite not seeing him for a number of years i was always remember the role he played in building the voice of socialism in the scotish area and particlarly in the trade union movement. He was only a young man when in 1984 he was out on strike for a year and became a leading voice in the the lothian minning area he will be sadly missed by all who came across him

    • Gordon Stirling

      4.Dec.2009 10:33pm


      I knew Joe during the Miners Strike of 1984/5. He was a thoroughly decent man ..This is sad news indeed . Joe must only be late 40,s.

      Gordon Stirling
      East Lothian

  5. God rest his soul.

    On an Island with no rough sleepers?, a man of no fixed abode is found dead at the bus station.

    The man was taken there from the Hospital where he was found asleep, in the grounds, by the security guard?

    Forgive me, but, and i dont know the facts, sleepiness, maybe the result of all manner of things, including a head injury. After all
    he attended the hospital earlier, his plaster cast was uncomfortable.

    I am sure some people may be questioning whether they could have acted differently,

    I think we should all take a good look at ourselves to ensure everyone is treated equitably no matter the appearances.

    On this Island, with no rough sleepers?

    I would check that statistic as i`ve heard, indeed observed, it is wrong.

  6. What were the police supposed to do? Offer him a house, an emergency shelter, a nice warm bed perhaps? I’m sorry, but it’s not their job to make sure everyone is OK and has somewhere to go. From what I hear, this poor man was known to the police as a vagrant. He could well have been banned from local hostels too. We don’t know. Please don’t start slagging off anyone involved until the facts are known. And that will be after the inquest.

    • blowing in all directions

      2.Dec.2009 7:40am

      “From what I hear, this poor man was known to the police as a vagrant”

      Didn’t he work for the County Press?

    • Shobba, I am constantly amazed at your posts. You say “Please don’t start slagging off anyone involved until the facts are known” but choose to say the man was a vagrant and ‘may’ have been banned from hostels.

      You should start to listen to your own words.

    • shobba should consider family feelings when writing something so cold. “from what you hear” are your words, without the facts don’t comment! Too many people thrive on gossip.

      This is so very sad and a very difficult time for the family..

  7. It is there job to protect the vunerable which in this case,obviously,this gentleman was.

  8. What a tragic story, from what I’ve heard he was a very well respected journalist.

  9. Err, you say “I’m sorry, but it’s not their (the police) job to make sure everyone is OK”

    Actually, that is exactly what they are supposed to do, to protect citizens.

  10. muso-activator

    3.Dec.2009 1:47pm

    My mother was mistook for drunk by police when infact she was suffering a fatal annuerism on a pavement. It does make you wonder how much quicker an ambulance would have arrived and limited the effects had they realised she was in serious distress sooner. My thoughts and sympathies to the family.

  11. Joe was a member of my family. I am saddened to have had to retrace some of the ungracious comments that people have shed on this site and by persons that were not even known to Joe himself. Please take a pause. He was a man that had historically given vivid expression to issues of social justice, etc. Perhaps you could also think about the sensibility and consequence of what you have given expression to. Thank you.

  12. I’m very sorry to read this story. I met Joe on the march in Cowes in support of the Vestas workers on 12 August this year. He introduced himself as a journalist and I am one as well, albeit a lowly sub, and a fellow member of the NUJ. I lost him in the crowd. I’m very sorry to hear about his death and offer my thoughts to his family and friends.

    Vicki Morris, an administrator on

  13. First off such sad news. I feel for the family involved but I personally feel this needs to be investigated further. Something was not right here.

    Is it true that when the police moved Joe from the hospital he didn’t have one mark on him but the ortopsy showed he was covered in cuts, bruises and marks.

    Ventnorblog… see if you can find out more. Seems to be some sort of cover up here!

    They make out that he was a ‘homeless person’ but he was very out spoken and democratic person and used to freelance for IWCP. It’s seems like this will just blow over without any questions asked. I certainly hope not!

    • “Is it true that when the police moved Joe from the hospital he didn’t have one mark on him but the ortopsy showed he was covered in cuts, bruises and marks.”

      Not heard anything about this. Did you hear this at the coroner’s inquest? Could you email us (VB) the details you’ve got.

  14. The CP said that the security guards ‘took’ him to be drunk not ‘mistook’ him to be drunk.

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