Wife told Lewes Prison inmate was on suicide watch

3:20pm Friday 3rd August 2012

By Emily Walker

A man found dead at Lewes Prison should have been on suicide watch, his family have said.

Colin Morton was found hanging in his cell two nights after he was convicted of sexual offences against young girls.

The Prison Service – which did not publish any information about his death until a second man, Nathan Vaughan-Jones, was found hanging in his cell last weekend – told The Argus Morton was not on suicide watch.

A close relative of Morton said he was an alcoholic and on medication for depression so should have been supervised as being at risk of self harm.

But the Prison Service said he was not considered to be at a high risk of self harm.

A spokeswoman said: “All prisoners are assessed on reception to prison on an individual basis. This is something the Prison and Probation Ombudsman will be looking into as part of their investigation.”

A third inmate, former police officer Peter Foster, was on suicide watch but was also found hanging in his cell at the prison on Monday.

Long wait

A member of Morton’s family said: “My family have had no indication whatsoever as to how this could of happened at all.

“Colin was meant to be on suicide watch as he was an alcoholic, who was scared of the dark and who was on anti-depression medication.

“His wife was told he would be on suicide watch and her liaison officer also stated he was on suicide watch. This is getting ridiculous. Something needs to change at that prison as one suicide is careless but three in four weeks is just diabolical.

“I do hope the Prison and Probation Ombudsman and inquest get to the bottom of this and force major change to the system they use in there.

“We have been told the inquiry is likely to take six months but that is too long.”

A spokeswoman for the Prison and Probation Ombudsman said that they would not know for certain whether Morton had been on suicide watch or if he should have been until the conclusion of their investigation, which will not be published until after a coroner’s inquest.

She added: “Every death in custody has its own investigation. It will be three separate investigations.”

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