Belfast Telegraph

Ex-jail watchdog's inquest fears

BY MICHAEL McHUGH

The former jail watchdog for Northern Ireland is concerned the identities of prisoners could be revealed during an inquest into an inmate's death, a lawyer said.

Ex-Ombudsman Pauline McCabe has written to coroner Suzanne Anderson to highlight her fears before a full inquest into the death is held.

Frances McKeown (23), a mother-of-two with a history of mental health issues, hanged herself inside Hydebank Wood Women's Prison in Belfast in May 2011.

An Ombudsman investigation raised serious concerns about her care in custody – a probe that prompted her widower Brian to take legal action.

Barrister for the coroner Ronan Daly told a preliminary hearing in Belfast: "There was some correspondence regarding the identities of the inmates within the report and the Ombudsman has raised concerns that would normally be addressed through redaction (of identities).

"There is a further concern that, even with redaction, the identities of the inmates could potentially still be uncovered with a little bit of research."

Belfast Telegraph

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