'Suicide' note prompts call for inquiry at prison

A NOTE apparently written by a man later found hanging in his cell at Bullingdon Prison, Oxfordshire, has prompted calls from the Howard Legal for Penal Reform for an inquiry into psychiatric care at the jail.

According to sources within the prison, David Pratley, who died on 28 December, had said on many occasions that he intended to kill himself and his wrists were bandaged from self-inflicted wounds.

The League says the note, which was discovered and smuggled out by inmates, showed him to be deeply disturbed and depressed. On the night of his death, Mr Pratley, 28, was said to have been asking fellow inmates for pills.

A copy of the note, addressed to his family, and a dossier of allegations that little was done to prevent his death were sent to the Howard League and the Independent. In the note he writes: 'I don't even know where I am. I walk around listening to dripping noises and silence. I don't know what is going on around me. People have to tell me what to do . . . sorry to let you down. Tell my brother and sister I love them, but I don't know what's going on.'

Last night Frances Crook, director of the League, said the note, dossier, and other information she had received, suggested that suicide prevention procedures might not have been followed and evidence of suicidal intent not acted upon.

Calling for an independent inquiry, she said that it would supplement the inquest, which did not have the authority, for example, to apportion blame, order discliplinary action, offer compensation, and demand changes in procedures.

The Home Office said that no comment could be made until after the inquest.