'Bonnie and Clyde' prisoner found dead

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The Independent Online

A woman who committed a "Bonnie and Clyde-style" armed robbery with her lover so they could run away together has hanged herself in prison, the Prison Service said yesterday.

Sheena Kotecha, 22, was found hanging in her cell at Brockhill prison in Redditch at 9.40am on Saturday, a day after she was jailed for holding up a Securicor van with her boyfriend Daniel Wright.

Ms Kotecha, from Belgrave in Staffordshire, had acted as the getaway driver during the robbery in which Mr Wright, 23, from Wigston, Leicestershire, approached a security guard outside a supermarket and pointed a fake pistol at his head.

The pair made off with £24,000 in cash and cheques which had been emptied from a banking machine. However, a shopper wrote down Kotecha's car registration number and both were later arrested. They were sentenced to nine years for robbery and possession of an imitation firearm at Leicester Crown Court.

Recorder Phillip Matthews compared the couple's case to the celebrated crime spree of lovers Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker in 1930s America: "It was premeditated and very much in the style reminiscent of Bonnie and Clyde," he said.

Before she was sentenced, Ms Kotecha's barrister Philip Gibbs had warned that his client was depressed. However, a statement from the Prison Service yesterday said she was not being treated as a vulnerable prisoner at the time of her death and was not on suicide watch.

An investigation into Ms Kotecha's death will be carried out by the Prisons Ombudsman. The coroner has also been informed.