Belfast Telegraph

Monitoring of inmate who hanged himself lax, inquest told

By Paul Higgins

A suicidal prisoner who hanged himself was not monitored as he should have been, a jury has heard.

The Coroner's Court heard that although prison staff checked on John Deery correctly on most occasions, CCTV footage proved that checks had not been carried out. Coroner's barrister Mark Reel told the jury that for the three days, 50-year-old Deery, from the Waterside in Londonderry, was housed in the anti-suicide "safer cell".

There should have been 293 entries in his 'prisoner at risk' (PAR) booklet, but there were only 233.

In one, a prison officer wrongly noted what Deery was doing in his cell, such as sleeping, when in fact he was on the phone to the Samaritans.

During his two days at the Health Care Unit there were 102 entries on the PAR log. However, 34 related to checks that were either not made at all, or not made when they were claimed to be.

For example, staff wrote that Mr Deery was snoring, when in fact CCTV footage showed them chatting at their desk.

On the evening he killed himself, August 27, 2009, staff in the HCU were dealing with another medical emergency for an hour from 8.28pm.

They did not carry out any checks on Mr Deery until 9.53pm, when the alarm was raised.

The hearing continues.

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