A PRISONER was bullied and became increasingly paranoid before he was found hanged, an inquest heard.

Nathan Vaughn-Jones died in Lewes Prison while serving an 11-year sentence for manslaughter after killing his stepfather Nigel Ross in South Chailey, near Lewes.

An inquest held at Eastbourne Town Hall heard the 34-year-old ME sufferer had been bullied and was fixated on the idea he was being watched in the lead up to his death.

Gwyneth Watkinson, then a prison counsellor, said Mr Vaughn-Jones found other prisoners “intimidating” and the environment “alien” – describing him as “very different” from other inmates.

He was due to be transferred to Lowdham Grange Prison and seemed optimistic about the move before his suicide.

Three days before his death in July 2012, it had been reported to Ms Watkinson that he had not been leaving his cell and was not eating properly.

Ms Watkinson said: “He was very anxious and not his usual self.”

“He was worried about being watched. He thought he had had things stolen from him.”

After discovering a razor blade in his cell Ms Watkinson told him not to “do anything silly”.

She added he had a”rapport” with him and said he previously referred to her as his “lifesaver”.

She advised prison officers of her findings but opted not to put him on suicide watch.

Family members described how he was dependent on support to cope with his ongoing mental health issues.

Ms Watkinson had seen him regularly while he was on remand but by his sentencing, in March 2012, her working hours had been cut.

He was dead just four months later.

Family members said prison was the “hardest time of his life” as they found him fixated on the idea the police had reopened their investigation.

His cousin Trystan Clarke said: “He told me he was not sleeping. There were incidents of finding other prisoners and prison officers in his cell and he was worried to leave his cell.

“He was pretty stressed. He was convinced everything he was saying was being monitored.”

After his death, letters written by him were discovered in his cell – one of which said he “could not live like this anymore”.

It was revealed Ms Watkinson was shown one of the letters but she said she did not read it in full.

Nikki Vaughn-Jones said her husband “did not have contact with family and friends he was used to” and revealed he had once planned to commit suicide at their home in Bermuda.

The inquest continues today.