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INQUEST OPENS INTO THE DEATH OF VULNERABLE WOMAN LISA MARLEY IN HMP STYAL

INQUEST PRESS RELEASE – For immediate release 29 January 2010

Monday 1 February 2010
before HM Coroner for the County of Cheshire , Mr Nicholas Rheinberg,
sitting at Macclesfield Town Hall , Market Place, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK10 1DX

The inquest into the death of Lisa Marley will commence on Monday 1 February 2010, and is listed for three weeks.

Lisa Marley, aged 32, was found hanging in her cell at Styal prison on 19 January 2008. Lisa had a history of drug problems, disturbed behaviour including chronic substance abuse, severe personality disorder and impulsive behaviour with self-harming episodes.

Lisa had been remanded at Styal Prison following a court appearance on17 January 2008. She had previously been a prisoner at Styal and on her arrival was identified as being at high risk of suicide and there were considerable concerns for her safety. At approximately 14:25 on 19 January 2008 staff found Lisa hanging in her cell. She was transferred to hospital but never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead four days later on 23 January 2008.

Lisa’s family have a number of concerns and hope that the inquest will examine the following matters:

  • Lisa made a number of comments to officers indicating she was suicidal and she was seen with a red mark on her neck.
  • Whether the requirement to complete five checks every hour was fulfilled.
  • How Lisa was able to take her own life when staff at the prison were aware that she was at high risk of suicide?
  • Why Lisa was remanded back to prison when the judge previously stated that the prison was not the correct place for her?

Despite the high level scrutiny of Styal Prison, the death of Lisa Marley illustrates the serious concerns which remain about the safety and quality of treatment of prisoners held there. It is particularly difficult to understand why Lisa was remanded to Styal Prison, given her mental vulnerability and previous attempts at self-harming; especially in light of the report carried out after the death of six women at Styal within a twelve month period which raised grave concerns about the treatment afforded in particular to women who are vulnerable to drug use and or mental illness.

The family are being represented at the inquest by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Gemma Vine of Farleys Solicitors and counsel Anna Morris of Garden Court Chambers.

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