Relatives lose High Court case relating to deaths at Woodhill Prison

HMP Woodhill has the highest number and rates for dates in prison in England and Wales.
HMP Woodhill has the highest number and rates for dates in prison in England and Wales.

The families of two men who died in Woodhill Prison have lost the judicial review over the rate of self-inflicted deaths at the jail.

Ian Brown, 44, hanged himself in his cell at the category A prison in Milton Keynes in July last year, while Daniel Dunkley, 35, died a few days after he was found suspended by a ligature in his cell later the same month.

Mr Brown’s mother and sister, Pearl Scarfe and Julie Barber, and Mr Dunkley’s brother, Jamie Blyde, who is himself a prisoner, wanted the court to order Woodhill’s governor and the Secretary of State for Justice to comply with the requirements of the Prison Service Instructions (PSIs).

They cover management of prisoners at risk of harm to self, to others and from others, early days in custody and medical emergency response codes.

Today the relatives were told the case was rejected.

Deborah Coles, director of legal charity INQUEST said: “This is a disappointing judgment.

“The current system is not fit for purpose, does not result in lesson learning and puts prisoners lives at risk by failing to make meaningful changes to dangerous practices and systems.

“At the inquest into the death of Danny Dunkley, it was accepted by the Governor in an open court that, had the previous recommendations been implemented, the chances are that Danny would have been alive today.

“The deplorable situation at HMP Woodhill is just one stark example of a much wider national problem.”

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