A prisoner found dead in his cell was not put on suicide watch even though staff knew he was “depressed and anxious”, an inquest heard.

Part-time disc jockey Colin Morton was found hanging in his cell on July 1 last year, days after he was convicted of 14 sex offences against children in the 1970s and 1980s.

The inquest heard how the 69-year-old from Hastings had told officers at Lewes Prison he had attempted to end his own life before.

At yesterday’s inquest into Mr Morton’s death, jurors heard he was first assessed by an NHS prison nurse with no mental health training, who admitted having to “guess” patient risk.

Mr Morton filled out a mood questionnaire, which showed he was depressed and anxious, but he assured the nurse he was not planning to take his own life, who believed him.

The case was then referred to duty GP Dr Ernest Crean, who worked in the prison for private firm Custodial Medical Services.

Dr Crean, who also admitted he had no psychiatric training, decided Mr Morton did not need to go on suicide watch.

Mr Morton was found dead in his cell two days later, hanged by his shoelaces.

At the inquest East Sussex coroner Alan Craze asked Dr Crean: “The questionnaire meant there was a likelihood that the patient was suffering from anxiety and depression.

“Didn’t steps need to be taken to ease that?”

But Dr Crean replied: “Mr Morton said he was not a suicide risk. His replies were unequivocal and he maintained eye contact throughout.

“The final decision was mine and I stand by it.”

In a statement read out to the inquest at Eastbourne Town Hall Mr Morton’s son Andrew said: “I recall conversations with Dad when he said he wouldn’t be able to handle going to prison.

“But he loved his social life and raised lots of money for charity. He’d always do anything for anyone.”

The inquest continues.