Two inmates found dead at prison

Saturday, 4 September, 2004, 15:38 GMT 16:38 UK

Manchester Prison
The men were found dead in their shared cell at Manchester Prison
Two inmates have been found hanged at Manchester Prison, police have said.

Both men were discovered at the jail - formerly known as Strangeways - at 0700 BST on Saturday and detectives are treating the deaths as suspicious.

The men were identified by the prison service as Shaun James Hazelhurst and Patrick Kevin Kilty, aged 26 and 32.

Greater Manchester Police have started inquiries to establish how the deaths happened and to find out if any incident preceded it.


The two, both from Yorkshire, had been convicted of robbery.

Hazelhurst, who was serving a four-year sentence, was jailed at Manchester Crown Court last Friday, while Kilty, who was serving a life term, had been sentenced at Leeds Crown Court in December last year.

I have instructed the prison service to re-double their considerable efforts to prevent these tragic deaths
Paul Goggins, Minister for Correctional Services

They were found hanging from ligatures in the cell they shared.

BBC correspondent Kevin Bocquet said speculation was rife as to whether the two cellmates had made a suicide pact.

He said this incident brought the number of deaths by hanging at the jail to five in the last 12 months.

A Home Office spokeswoman said neither of the men were on suicide watch and there did not appear to be any suspicious circumstances in relation to the deaths.

A post-mortem is due to be carried out shortly.

An investigation will be conducted by Prison Ombudsman Stephen Shaw, as in all cases of death in custody.


Suicide rates

This latest episode follows Friday's report that 14 prisoners in English jails have taken their lives in the month of August.

This is the highest figure for a single month since records began to be taken 20 years ago.

Commenting on the recent peak in the number of suicides in prison, Minister for Correctional Services Paul Goggins said: "The tragedy is for the individuals and their families.

"The paradox is that we have never done more to tackle self-harm and suicide in prison," he added.

"The number of people with mental health and other problems passing through our prisons is challenging for all concerned, but we cannot simply blame overcrowding: the prison population is lower now than it was six months ago.

"We will be working with the Department of Health to see what more we can do, and I have instructed the prison service to re-double their considerable efforts to prevent these tragic deaths."

An average of about 95 inmates take their lives in prison each year, out of a prison population in excess of 70,000.