Ashley Darren Dougan was a 32-year-old gentleman who was remanded in custody to HMP Altcourse on 23 June 2021.
The jury, sitting before HM Assistant Coroner Ma’am Bhardwaj at Liverpool Coroners Court for 4 days, heard how Ashley was locked in his cell for 23 hours a day owing to the national Covid lockdown measures in place at the time.
Ashley had expressed his difficulty in coping with the regime at this time to his family in calls. The prison were not aware of these calls. The jury also heard Ashley had concerns over his forthcoming sentence.
On the morning of 2 September 2021 at approximately 8.20am Mr Dougan was found hanging in his cell. He was discovered by his cellmate and CPR was commenced by prison staff.
Ashley was conveyed to Aintree University Hospital where he was pronounced deceased at 8.40pm on 3 September 2021.
During the inquest into his death, evidence was heard that Ashley had been a bright and bubbly character on the wing and he was described as the ‘perfect prisoner’ who was ‘polite and helpful’. Witnesses described their complete shock at what had happened.
The jury found by way of a narrative conclusion that Mr Dougan died of a self-applied ligature contributed to by the national lockdown measures, wanting to be moved nearer home, and concern over the possible length of his sentence.
Mr Dougan’s family were represented at the inquest by Kelly Darlington and David Corrigan of Farleys’ inquest team and Andrew Bridgman from St Johns Buildings.
Mr Dougan’s sister spoke on behalf of the family and described her relief that the inquest had concluded and that the process had answered some questions and concerns they’d had, giving a sense of closure to the family.
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