Marcus McGuire death: Prison care scheme 'could have been better'

Written by on June 14, 2019

A prisoner with a history of mental health issues may not have died had a monitoring scheme been “properly executed”, an inquest has heard.

Marcus McGuire was taken off the plan to prevent suicide and self-harm on 5 April and due for reassessment on 24 April.

But on that date, officers at HMP Birmingham found him dead in his cell.

Laura Lowe, head of safer custody, said she accepted a better-run scheme “could have possibly prevented the outcome”.

Birmingham Coroner’s Court heard Mr McGuire, from Coventry, had paranoia and depression and believed his food at the jail was being poisoned.

In March, he twice slashed his wrist using a razor blade and was put on a programme called Assessment Care in Custody and Teamwork (ACCT).

But jurors were told the jail’s healthcare team had not been part of any of his assessments, and had they been involved, it would have enabled Mr McGuire to access better support.

He was found dead in his cell with a ligature tied around his neck.

Birmingham and Solihull Coroner Emma Brown told the inquest the item was thought to be a prescribed compression sock, although there was no record at the jail of it being given to him.

‘Altered his course’

Ms Lowe told the hearing she did not think prison officers would have removed the item had they discovered it during a search because it looked like a normal sock.

Asked by Ms Brown whether a “properly executed” ACCT and subsequent care could have “altered” Mr McGuire’s course, Ms Lowe said the death could have still occurred, but agreed he would have been offered more support.

Nick Stanage, representing the family, showed jurors inspectors’ criticisms of how the jail had failed to manage some ACCTs and record some incidents of self harm.

The hearing continues.

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