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Prison criticised over man's death

A prisoner with mental health problems who killed himself after being transferred to a jail where he had previously attempted suicide may have been moved because an inspection was due to take place, the prisons ombudsman has said.

Christopher Wardally, 25, from south London, hanged himself in June 2009 in Wandsworth Prison, south London, after being transferred for a fortnight to Pentonville jail, north London.

The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) reported that the two-week transfer had had been "influenced" by an upcoming inspection of Wandsworth and was not in Wardally's interests.

Wardally, who was remanded in custody for an unspecified offence, was temporarily transferred to Pentonville despite having made a "serious suicide attempt" there previously that year.

The prisoner suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and a possible anti-social personality disorder, and felt unsafe in the north London prison because he hailed from south London.

While provisionally back at Pentonville Wardally made a second suicide attempt, and three days after returning to Wandsworth he was found hanged in his cell.

The ombudsman's report said: "I am satisfied that, on both 26 and 27 May, anticipation of the forthcoming inspection at Wandsworth influenced the thinking of those responsible for the man's movement around the London prison system.

"I consider that the transfer on 26 May was not in his best interests. It was an avoidable disruption to his continuity of care.

"The man was removed from a prison where he said he felt safe and was returned to a prison that had caused him considerable anxiety."


From Belfast Telegraph