Belfast Telegraph

Drug claim prisoner hanged himself

By Michael McHugh

A prisoner hanged himself in a jail after warders dismissed claims he had taken an overdose.

Geoffrey Singleton (42) had attempted suicide in the community and there was one case of self-harm while in custody, a review said.

He had a lengthy history of abusing drugs and had spent a considerable amount of time in prison since 1993.

Shortly before he died he told the authorities he had swallowed a package of heroin but it was suggested he had manufactured the claim, which turned out to be false.

His death in May 2013 was preceded by hospital treatment and the watchdog said part of the Prison Service response was inappropriate.

Ombudsman Tom McGonigle said: "Mr Singleton's death was unpredictable."

He added: "While he had attempted suicide in the community, there was only one incident of self-harm in prison and staff and prisoners who knew him were very surprised when he took his own life.

"His family appreciated the support they subsequently received from Maghaberry's chaplaincy team."

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