No charges in Group 4 death

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The Independent Online
NO CHARGES are to be brought against the six Group 4 guards suspended after a remand prisoner collapsed and later died while being escorted to jail.

The Crown Prosecution Service said yesterday that after studying a report by Humberside Police, there was 'insufficient evidence' for any prosecutions over the death last May of Ernest Hogg. Group 4 said the guards would remain suspended until the conclusion of three other inquiries into the death.

Mr Hogg, 38, was found unconscious in the escorts' van after a 50-mile drive from Rotherham magistrates' court to the Wolds remand prison, also run by Group 4. He died four days later from brain damage caused by inhaling vomit.

It was reported that Mr Hogg had drunk rum and vodka, sent by post to Wolds inmates in mineral water bottles. Although prison staff confiscated the bottles, they were sent to the court. If Mr Hogg and other prisoners were freed, the bottles were to be returned, but Mr Hogg apparently got hold of them.

Inquiries were launched by the police, the coroner, Group 4 and the Prison Service agency. The agency called in Alex Marnoch, a former Metropolitan Police commander, to investigate the escort service, which 'lost' eight prisoners in its first three weeks in service.

Yesterday Group 4 said: 'We welcome the CPS's decision, particularly on behalf of those employees suspended, as this will no doubt alleviate some of the strain they have been under.'

But Adam Sampson, deputy director of the Prison Reform Trust, said a prosecution 'would have been the best opportunity of clearing up the mysteries surrounding Mr Hogg's death'.