An alcoholic who made a series of hoax bomb threats died of liver failure complications in prison.

Mark Wilkinson died at the age of 49 at Lewes Prison on April 22, 2022 after he was found “slouched over” the desk in his cell in HMP Lewes.

Wilkinson committed a series of offences over several years including arson, wasting police time and making a string of false bomb threats.

He also threatened an Argus reporter after he was banned from Aldi in London Road for hurling racist abuse in the supermarket.

Wilkinson had PTSD and battled with alcohol problems.

Many of his offences were committed while drunk.

In July 2019, he was spared jail after he called police and claimed to be a member of the extremist Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and said he had planted a bomb in Brighton.

In the December of the same year Wilkinson was jailed for making threats to hurl a brick through the window of the police station in John Street.

In 2020 he was jailed for setting fire to bins and was jailed again for another fake bomb threat he made in November 2021.

At the time of his imprisonment in November 2021, Wilkinson was diagnosed with chronic liver disease caused by alcohol cirrhosis, gastrointestinal bleeding, PTSD and depression. He was also drug and alcohol dependent.

A report published this month by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman into Wilkinson’s death found the care he had received at HMP Lewes was “not equivalent to that which he could have expected to receive in the community”.

Kimberley Bingham, acting prisons and probation ombudsman, said blood tests around three weeks before Wilkinson died identified “dangerously low” haemoglobin levels, which required a blood transfusion.

She said Wilkinson refused to attend hospital for the procedure and did not attend GP appointments afterwards.

Wilkinson told one GP he had been losing blood from his mouth, ears and anus for ten years.

“Despite this, and his deteriorating condition, healthcare staff did not review him for around two weeks and did not take appropriate clinical observations,” she wrote.

“Mr Wilkinson’s pain management was not well controlled and he did not have a care plan for his long-term health conditions which could have promoted the safe prescribing of pain relief medication.

“It is disappointing that, despite several requests, healthcare staff have not provided the healthcare inpatient unit’s admission criteria to determine whether Mr Wilkinson should have been transferred there when he refused to go to hospital.”

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The report detailed how on the morning of April 21, 2022, prison staff found Wilkinson “slouched over” his desk in his cell.

Two hours prior he “seemed to be in good spirits”.

The report said he had no pulse and very shallow breathing.

Staff called a medical emergency, and three nurses began CPR and applied a defibrillator, which “on several occasions advised not to shock”.

Paramedics took over and Wilkinson was taken to hospital where he remained in a coma. He died the next morning.

Wilkinson died of an internal haemorrhage as a result of ruptured oesophageal varices (a condition that develops when the normal blood flow to the liver is blocked) and alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver.

At an inquest held on April 4 this year, the coroner concluded that Mr Wilkinson died from natural causes.

Ms Bingham made several recommendations including that staff regularly review those prisoners who refuse to attend hospital for emergency treatment, including taking relevant clinical observations, prisoners with complex conditions are referred to the multi professional complex case clinic and relevant care plans are created that include the monitoring of prescribed medication where there is a risk attached.

HMP Lewes accepted the recommendations and said action has been taken.

"All patients who refuse hospital treatment are reviewed by a registered professional for capacity," its response said.

"If deemed to have capacity a conversation is undertaken regarding the reasons for the need of a hospital admission and the potential consequences of not attending. If the patient still refuses this is fully documented within the medical records and a disclaimer signed by the patient.

"A plan of care is established including observations and the patient is monitored and discussed through the MPCCC [Multi Professional Complex Case Clinic] with relevant professionals. The care plan discussed and implemented is recorded on the medical records and reviewed as required and updated."