Home Office breached addict's human rights

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The Independent Online

The Home Office has admitted it breached the human rights of a teenager who died of a drugs overdose in prison, after she had made seven previous bids to hang herself there.

The mother of Sarah Campbell, 18, sued the Prison Service under the Human Rights Act after an inquest jury found that Styal women's prison, in Cheshire, had failed in its duty of care before she died, in January 2003. Ms Campbell was one of six vulnerable women prisoners to die in a 12-month period at Styal from August 2002 to 2003.

In an out-of-court settlement, the Prison Service paid a five-figure sum to Sarah's mother, Pauline Campbell, who has campaigned to highlight the plight of women in prisons and has been arrested 12 times in the process.

Sarah was addicted to heroin and was jailed for manslaughter after a man she accosted, who had a weak heart, died.

The Home Office admitted failing to protect Sarah's right to life, right to protection from torture and right to family and private life.

An inquest found that staff acted against a doctor's warnings by sending her to a segregation unit, shut the door on her after she had overdosed, and could not agree who should call an ambulance. It concluded that the prison had failed in its duty of care to Sarah.