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Inquest into the death of Michael Cameron, the 14th recent HMP Woodhill death, starts Monday
HM Assistant Coroner for Milton Keynes Elizabeth Grey
Church of Christ the Cornerstone
300 Saxon Gate, Milton Keynes MK9 2ES
Opens 8 May 2017 - expected to last 5 days.
Michael Cameron, age 45 from South London was remanded to HMP Woodhill on 19 April 2016. He was found hanging in his cell on 26 April and died two days later in hospital. Michael was the third of seven men to take their own lives in the prison last year, and the 14th of 18 deaths since 2013.
The acting Governor of Woodhill, Nicola Marfleet, who has been in post since November 2016 admitted last week that if the prison had implemented recommendations for changes following previous deaths another prisoner, Daniel Dunkley who took his own life in July 2016, would probably not have died.
The inquest will hear that whilst in police custody Michael had harmed himself and been placed on constant observation. On arrival at the prison he was subject to suicide prevention procedures and hourly observations.
On 25 April Michael's cell mate gave officers razor blades that Michael was intending to use to harm himself. The following day Michael's cell mate was moved, leaving Michael alone in his cell during a period of lock up. Michael was found hanging in his cell by an officer new to the unit who had only in post for 3 months.
Michael's mother Maureen Cameron said :
“I feel that HMP Woodhill prison did not look after my son. They knew how vulnerable he was when he first arrived. I feel my son was crying out for help and HMP Woodhill failed him”
INQUEST has been working with the family of Michael Cameron since October 2016. Michael's mother is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Jo Eggleton from Deighton Pierce Glynn and Nick Armstrong from Matrix Chambers.
NOTES TO EDITORS
For further information, please contact: Lucy McKay on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7263 1111
1. Daniel Dunkley’s inquest concluded last week with a neglect verdict, and found lack of action on previous deaths had contributed to Daniel’s death. Deborah Coles, director of INQUEST has called for corporate manslaughter charges to be brought in this case.
2. HMP Woodhill currently has the highest number and rate of deaths in England and Wales,
3. Two of the 18 families bereaved since 2013 by deaths at HMP Woodhill have brought a judicial review (conclusion imminent) on the high number of deaths in the prison. The review was heard on 7 April 2017. The conclusion is due to be published in May.
4. Ministry of Justice (MOJ) stats show the rate of self-inflicted deaths in prison has more than doubled since 2013.
INQUEST provides specialist advice on deaths in custody or detention or involving state failures in England and Wales. This includes a death in prison, in police custody or following police contact, in immigration detention or psychiatric care. INQUEST's policy and parliamentary work is informed by its casework and we work to ensure that the collective experiences of bereaved people underpin that work. Its overall aim is to secure an investigative process that treats bereaved families with dignity and respect; ensures accountability and disseminates the lessons learned from the investigation process in order to prevent further deaths.
Please refer to INQUEST the organisation in all capital letters in order to distinguish it from the legal hearing.
‘At the time of the tragedy, I had no idea of what to do or who to turn to. By luck, I found yourselves and contacted you, the rest as we say is history. On behalf of [my brother's] family, friends and myself I would just like to thank you so much for your professional support and advice during that difficult period and without that help, I do not think we would be where we are today.’
– Brother of a man who died in police custody