Inquest finds care failures at three prisons including HMP Highpoint

HMP Highpoint, in Stradishall
HMP Highpoint, in Stradishall
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A serving prisoner who died after being found unconscious in his cell had experienced ‘failures’ in his care at three different prisons, an inquest has concluded.

Brian William Randall was pronounced dead at West Suffolk Hospital at 6.34pm on February 10, 2013, after being discovered unconscious and unresponsive in his cell at HMP Highpoint (South) in Stradishall at around 9am the same day.

The 60-year-old began serving a three-year prison term for conspiracy to supply a controlled drug at HMP Hewell in June 2012, but was transferred to HMP Oakwood the following month and to HMP Highpoint that November.

An inquest held this week in Bury St Edmunds heard that Randall had a number of complex medical problems and visited the hospital on a regular basis prior to being imprisoned.

His wife, Jacqueline, told the hearing Randall – with whom she had two children – had missed follow up medical appointments because of his imprisonment and had expressed concern about the lack of healthcare he was receiving behind bars.

She said: “I fully accept Brian deserved to be in prison for his crime but this did not mean he should not receive appropriate medical treatment.”

The inquest heard about a number of failures in Randall’s care and that new systems had been introduced at Highpoint as a result of the investigation into his death.

It heard that a welfare check was not made when his cell was unlocked at 8.30am on February 10 and it was about 9am by the time a fellow inmate discovered him lying unconscious.

There was also a 10-minute delay in an ambulance being called after a ‘code blue’ was reported.

Randall arrived at the hospital at about 10.20am where tests showed he had experienced a spontaneous, catastrophic bleed on his brain for which surgical intervention was not possible.

Recording a narrative conclusion, Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean said: “Mr Brian Randall died from a large, acute intracerebral hemorrhage resulting from hypertension while a serving prisoner at HMP Highpoint, having previously been in two other prisons.

“There were failures to provide appropriate ongoing monitoring and care for his known complex medical needs and a failure to obtain his previous community medical records at all three prisons, and a failure to check his wellbeing when the cell was first unlocked at Highpoint on the morning of his collapse, but whether any or all of these failures contributed more than minimally to his death could not be established from the evidence.”