Suicide prisoner let down by jail staff, says jury

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The Independent Online

A vulnerable inmate who took his own life in a high security segregation unit was let down by the Prison Service, a jury ruled yesterday.

A vulnerable inmate who took his own life in a high security segregation unit was let down by the Prison Service, a jury ruled yesterday.

After a five-week inquest, a jury found a series of systematic failures contributed to the death of a police and prison informant, Paul Day.

The 31-year-old robber from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, was found hanged in his cell at HMP Frankland, Durham, in October 2002, despite being under close observation because he was at known risk of self-harm.

He was serving an eight-year sentence and had spells at Parkhurst, Pentonville, Cardiff, Highdown and Frankland.

Day had attempted to take his own life at Wandsworth prison, and, on one occasion, prison officers urged him to jump from a high gantry, the inquest was told. As a known informant, he was targeted for abuse from fellow inmates.

He protested about his treatment and the jury heard he was sent 300 miles from his native south-east to Frankland, because he thought he would be sent to a witness protection unit.

The inquest jury at Chester-le-Street magistrates' court found he had been misled, as no such unit existed.

The foreman said: "We believe the effect on Paul was that he felt abandoned, frustrated, depressed, helpless and defeated. He also lost any trust in the system and in his carers."

The foreman said Day had been abused by fellow inmates and that staff had not done enough to stamp it out.