Prison group demands inquiry into cell deaths

(First Edition)

AN INDEPENDENT public inquiry into conditions at Leicester jail was demanded by a prison reform group last night after the fourth death among inmates there in six months, writes Will Bennett.

Prison Watch said that 'the care of vulnerable and suicidal prisoners at Leicester is seriously lacking' and alleged that the jail now has the highest suicide rate of any prison in Britain.

The organisation's claims follow the death of Navnit Zinzuwadia, 24, from Leicester, who was found hanging from his cell bars in the prison's hospital wing on Wednesday. He was serving a 30-month sentence for affray.

A spokesman for Prison Watch said that evidence at the inquests into two of the other deaths showed that prison officials had failed to take 'basic precautions'. Both prisoners were left on their own when they were known to be suicidal. They hanged themselves.

'Relatives need assurance that steps will be taken to prevent further deaths. This includes changes in the appalling conditions and practices at Leicester,' he said.

However, a Prison Service spokeswoman said that the suicides were the first that had happened at Leicester for seven-and-a-half years, and the two inquests found no evidence of lack of care.

She added that there would be 'a full internal investigation' into Mr Zinzuwadia's death.