Inquest into the death of 31-year-old Paul Day who died in HMP Frankland on 2 October 2002

by Fighting for Justice

“[we Believe Paul day felt] abandoned, frustrated, depressed, helpless and defeated and [had] lost any trust in the system and his carers” conclude jury in Paul Day inquest.

Wednesday march 2 2005

The jury in the inquest into the death of 31-year-old Paul Day who died in HMP Frankland on 2 October 2002 have returned a highly critical narrative verdict following a four week inquest. Their findings included the following:

?? That the communication between prisons concerning procedures and transfers was inadequate;

?? That the constant verbal abuse that Paul suffered for the last 51 days of his life was not dealt with appropriately by staff and that this was a contributing factor to his death and ‘gradually took its toll on his mind’;

?? Paul was on a dirty protest during the last four days of his life and yet he was not encouraged to stop and when he did come off the protest he was returned to the dirty protest corridor;

?? He was not consulted before, during or after his last mental health assessment on 1 October 2002, the day before his death.

Paul was on an F2052SH (suicide and self-harm monitoring form) and yet he was checked irregularly, observations were poor as were written entries and staff training in suicide awareness inadequate. The meaning ‘frequent, irregular checks’, was not understood by either management or staff on the segregation unit and the jury believe this contributed to his death. The jury rejected the prison service’s claim that Paul was checked at 22.25 on the night of his death.

Deborah Coles, co-director of INQUEST, said; “Paul Day was an extremely vulnerable prisoner who was owed a particular duty of care and yet he was subjected to abusive, inhuman and degrading treatment. Prison Service protocols on bullying, suicide prevention and dirty protests were not adhered to and instead his human rights were disregarded and he suffered appalling degradation and abuse until he was driven to his death.

The jury were clearly shocked that this kind of treatment could occur in an English prison.” Pauline Day, mother of Paul Day, said; “We welcome the verdict and the jury’s findings and are very pleased that the jury read and heard the evidence and came back with the truth. This is the start not the end of our battle. We will continue to fight for those vulnerable people who are locked up in segregation units across prisons in this country. He should never have been there, segregation is for punishment, our son needed help. He suffered 51 days of torture which cannot be justified by anyone to us. We want everyone to know what he went through.”

Notes to Editors

The family are available for interview following the conclusion of the inquest.

The family of Paul Day were represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Leslie Thomas (2 Garden Court Chambers) instructed by Fiona Borrill ( Lester Morril Solicitors).

INQUEST is concerned about the number of deaths in segregation units. Paul was found hanging from his cell window at HMP Frankland on 2 October 2002.

Police informant found hanged in his cell in 2002 had told solicitor he wanted to retract false statements he had made in a series of court cases

By Richard Cookson, The Indpendent, Sunday, 1 June 2008
Detectives have launched an investigation into the death of a police and prison informant who was found hanged in his jail cell. The probe into Paul Day’s suicide, shortly after he told a solicitor he wished to retract false evidence he gave in a series of high-profile cases, including the 1996 murders of Lin and Megan Russell, raises the prospect of manslaughter charges and the possible unravelling of some major criminal cases.

Durham police confirmed they are examining the death of Day, 31, from Southend, Essex, who was nearing the end of an eight-year sentence for attempted robbery when he was found dead in the segregation unit of Frankland Prison, Durham, in October 2002.

A five-week inquest – one of the longest ever into a death in custody – heard that in the weeks before he died, Day had been taking part in a dirty protest because of bullying from staff and prisoners on the unit. The jury concluded that Day killed himself after prison staff did nothing to stop prisoners from abusing him, and because of other systemic failures in his care.

It is believed that Day was being bullied after it became known he had acted as an informant in a number of cases including, he claimed, that of Michael Stone, convicted of the murders of Lin and Megan Russell in Kent in 1996.

An investigation by Durham Police began after a complaint from the dead man’s parents, Andrew and Pauline Day, about their son’s treatment. “We are looking at offences related to Mr Day’s death, and our focus is the events as they unfolded at HMP Frankland. We will conduct a thorough and impartial investigation,” said detective inspector Eric Malkin from Durham Police.

The Days demanded an independent inquiry after it emerged that the Prison Service’s own investigation was seriously flawed and that the inquest into their son’s death did not hear crucial evidence about his last days. The Prison Service’s investigation was judged to be so poor the then deputy director of the Prison Service, Peter Atherton, commissioned a second one.

Prior to the inquest, despite repeated requests, the Days’ lawyers were told that videotapes showing how their son was treated by staff no longer existed. However, during the hearing – after one prisoner said in evidence that he had been beaten “black and blue” by prison staff on the night Day died – the tapes were found. They showed, among other things, Day being strip-searched by several prison officers in riot gear shortly before he died. Frankland’s former governor, Phil Copple, was forced to apologise for not finding the tapes sooner.

Last year, the Days discovered that their son had been visited by a lawyer, Michael Gibson of Newcastle-based David Gray Solicitors, six days before his death. At the meeting, Day told Mr Gibson he wanted to retract false statements he had given as an informant in several cases. In a letter to Day, Mr Gibson wrote: “You say you provided false evidence in court on several occasions… You wish to right the wrong suffered by various people against whom you made false statements.”

Mr Gibson advised him he could either hand himself in to police or make a formal complaint to the relevant forces. He also suggested writing to the men’s solicitors to expose his role. He warned Day that he could face prosecution for perverting the course of justice.

The coroner described the Prison Service’s failure to disclose the visit as a “glaring omission”. A Prison Service investigation conceded the reports failed to mention the visit – but could not explain why. They denied it had been deliberately withheld.

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