Second death leads to fears over care at prison

Lee Rushton
Lee Rushton

Lawyers representing a 21-year-old who took his own life at a North West prison have called for more action to prevent bullying behind bars.


Sam Molyneux, from Atherton, was found hanging in a cell at HMP Liverpool on April 1 last year.

His was the second fatality involving a man from the borough in four months at the former Walton Prison, following the death of 24-year-old Wigan man Lee Rushton the previous January.

Inquest jurors ruled his death was contributed to by neglect and they identified a number of failings regarding the care and supervision of Mr Rushton, from Marsh Green, who had a number of unchecked mental health requirements.

In the latest case, Mr Molyneux’s legal team says he was attacked in prison after a campaign of bullying.

But this did not trigger a suicide and self-harm prevention procedure, known as ACCT (Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork), even though he had been placed under review three times previously at Liverpool, due to his history of self-harm and mental illness.

An inquest jury returned a suicide conclusion but observed that the young man should have been placed on an ACCT watch.

Jurors also noted that he was held in a cell without anti-barricade doors, despite his mental health condition.

Coroner Andre Rebello is also said to be submitting a regulation 28 notice, otherwise known as a prevention of future deaths report, to the Prison Service, highlighting the anti-barricade doors issue.

The same coroner issued a similar report to the authorities after Mr Rushton’s inquest, after it emerged that he had also been assaulted by a fellow prisoner, which a jury considered would have affected his mental state, prior to his death.

After the latest case Mr Molyneux’s family’s solicitor, Leanne Devine, of the Liverpool firm Broudie Canter Jackson, said: “This is yet another sad death of a vulnerable young man at HMP Liverpool.

“It is important that the jury recognised the dangerous impact of bullying on vulnerable prisoners, the need for greater care for these individuals by prison staff, and the substantial effect that up to date prison infrastructure has on suicide and self-harm prevention.”

She also said that while her client’s family was “understandably devastated” at the conclusion of the hearing, they were satisfied that the jury had identified several key issue which led to his death.

The families of both men were supported by the national charity Inquest, which campaigns for greater transparency regarding deaths in custody.

Before his death, Mr Molyneux was also remanded for a brief spell at HMP and YOI Hindley.