Farleys were instructed on behalf of the family of Mr S following his death at HMP Hewell.
Sadly Mr S hanged himself in 2016. A three-week inquest took place in 2018. He had a history of mental illness with repeated episodes of self-harm and suicide attempts whilst in prison, however he was never transferred to a secure mental health unit despite recommendations from two consultant psychiatrists. An inquest jury found his death was accidental due to a ‘cry for help’.
The inquest found multiple failings, particularly in the assessment, care in custody and teamwork (ACCT) process for prisoners at risk of self-harm or suicide. Senior Coroner Mr Geraint Williams issued a Prevention of Further Deaths report warning that urgent changes were needed in the care given to inmates to prevent further deaths.
Following the Inquest, Farleys intimated a claim against the Ministry of Justice and sent a Letter of Claim, arguing that there had been a breach of the Claimants’ rights under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. It was alleged that had the Defendant taken reasonable steps to minimise the risk to Mr S’s right appropriately, including through the use of adequate monitoring and observations, his premature death may have been prevented.
Liability was subsequently denied by the Ministry of Justice, contending that the prison took all reasonable steps to manage Mr S’s risk to himself.
It was put forward by Farleys that there was a real and immediate risk to Mr S from himself and proceedings were issued.
Farleys obtained expert evidence from a specialist psychiatrist for Mr S’s two siblings. The expert evidence of psychiatric injury was used in support of the claim for damages for breach of Article 2 showing the Claimants’ mental illness diagnoses and deteriorations in conditions were directly associated with the death of their brother.
Farleys secured a global award of £30,000 for the two Claimants with the award of damages reflecting the psychiatric injury sustained as a result of the death of Mr S.