Widow Receives Support Following Partners Lack Of Care In Custody

Widow Receives Support Following Partners Lack Of Care In Custody

Our client, an ex-bricklayer, who had a history of suffering from depression and consuming alcohol on a regular basis, passed away due to the lack of support and monitoring by prison staff.

In 2009, during the recession in the building trade, he began to suffer from depression and was drinking heavily. His behaviour became erratic and in late 2009, he tried to harm himself on two separate occasions.


Our client attended several appointments at his GP practice and was prescribed antidepressants for severe depressive disorder. He was also referred to a team to help with his alcohol use. He also had contact with mental health teams and hospital staff.

In the summer of 2010, our client was arrested following an incident at home and he was held on remand in prison. Upon arrival, he was subject to self harm monitoring procedures.

A forensic consultant psychiatrist concluded that he was not clinically depressed but prescribed an increase in his antidepressant medication. Due to an administrative error, our client never received the increased medication prescribed.

Negligence In Care

A few weeks later, the self harm observation procedures stopped and our client had further assessments by psychiatric nurses as well as regular contact with an alcohol worker. During this time, our client's sibling called the prison to express her concern that he did not seem his usual self.

An officer spoke with our client and noted that he did not have any thoughts of self harm. Our client subsequently missed a psychiatric appointment because no staff members were available to escort him.

Two days later, he was found hanging in his cell. Paramedics managed to resuscitate him and he was transferred to hospital, but sadly died the following morning.

Support Secured For Family Members

Irwin Mitchell represented his widow and children during the hearing that took place over six days in January 2013. Amongst other issues, his widow had concerns about the lack of psychiatric care, treatment and monitoring that her husband had received whilst in prison.

We were able to provide our client's widow with the support she needed during this difficult time and have continued to provide advice, particularly in the interest of their children.

For expert advice on matters relating to inquests and deaths in custody, please contact Nancy Collins of Irwin Mitchell's public law team on 0370 1500 100 or complete our enquiry form.

For general enquiries

0370 1500 100