Sarah Reed: Woman who had been victim of police brutality found dead in prison cell

Ms Reed died at HMP Holloway more than three years after an unrelated incident of police brutality

A woman who had been the victim of police brutality has died in her prison cell, sparking an investigation.

Sarah Reed, 32, was found to be “unresponsive” at HMP Holloway on 11 January and pronounced dead shortly after, despite attempts at CPR.

The Prisons and Probation and Ombudsman has launched a probe, which is compulsory for all deaths in custody, and the Ministry of Justice has not yet confirmed any details of how she died.

Ms Reed’s family told civil rights activist Lee Jasper that they were informed Ms Reed had “'strangled' herself whilst lying on her bed”, which they believe to be a physical impossibility.

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Relatives also claimed they were not allowed to see her body during a visit to the prison.

Ms Reed, who reportedly had a history of mental illness and drug addiction, had been the victim of assault by a police officer in 2012.

She was punched, thrown to the ground and restrained by PC James Kiddie after being caught shoplifting at Uniqlo, on London’s Regent Street, in November 2012.

The Metropolitan Police Officer was found guilty of common assault, sentenced to a 150-hour community order and dismissed after CCTV footage showed him grabbing her by the hair and hitting her in the head.

Speaking at a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in 2014 that the violence was the result of “an instinctive and immediate retaliation in anger” and that “higher standards” were expected from Kiddie.

The police officer had two previous disciplinary findings of “incivility” against him on his police record and was also investigated for using CS gas at a UK Uncut protest.

A spokesperson for the Prison Service told the Independent: “HMP Holloway prisoner Sarah Reed was found unresponsive in her cell at 8am on January 11.

“Prison staff attempted CPR, but she was pronounced dead shortly after.

“As with all deaths in custody, the independent Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will conduct an investigation.”

Additional reporting by PA