The Independent London Newspaper


Inquest is told how man found hanged in Pentonville cell was ‘suicide risk’

HMP Pentonville

HMP Pentonville

Published: 6 January, 2017

A PRISONER who was twice highlighted as a suicide risk was found hanged in his cell at HMP Pentonville, an inquest hearing was told.

John Williams, who had been recalled to prison after breaching the conditions of his licence, told staff that he wanted to die in prison last year. The 54-year-old was found hanged by a ligature on Sunday, June 26.

At a pre-inquest review hearing on Tuesday, St Pancras Coroner’s Court heard that Mr Williams was twice placed under an assessment, care in custody and teamwork (ACCT) document for those at risk of suicide. But he was not given a second health screening as he should have been.

After a “disturbance” on June 23, Mr Williams was put on the prison’s “basic regime”. He also put red paint over the observation panel to his cell. Mr Williams had tried to hang himself in police custody, the court heard.

A date for a five-day jury inquest was set for Tuesday, March 21.

The Caledonian Road jail, and CARE UK, who provide healthcare staff, has been criticised in recent months for failing to learn lessons from previous deaths.

Tedros Kahssay, a 28-year-old Eritrean refugee, hanged himself in his cell last January, and ­Vilhemas Borketas, a 23-year-old convicted of attempted robbery, was found hanged in ­November.

Those deaths followed a string of suicides at the jail in recent years.

After the conclusion of Mr Kahssay’s inquest, Deborah Coles, director of INQUEST, said: “Care UK is the biggest private provider of healthcare to the UK’s prison service. They have been seriously criticised in several recent prison deaths. We need to know how these failures are being reflected in the granting of such significant public contracts and how is it that Pentonville were able to ignore the implementation of significant ­recommended changes ­following previous deaths at the prison.”


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