A SUNDERLAND man has died at Durham Prison less than a week after starting a sentence for a drug offence.
The Echo reported last week that Kevin Forster had been jailed for trying to take drugs to ferry arsonist Boden Hughes, who is on remand in the same prison.
On Sunday, Forster, 32, was found ill in his cell at about 6am and died 90 minutes later.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: “HMP Durham prisoner Kevin Forster was found to be unwell around 6am on Sunday, September 14.
“Paramedics attended, but he was pronounced dead at 7.31am.
“As with all deaths in custody, the independent prisons and probation ombudsman, Nigel Newcomen, will conduct an investigation.”
Forster, of Ethel Terrace in Castletown, was sentenced to eight weeks in jail at Durham Crown Court for taking a prohibited article into prison.
During the hearing, Peter Sabiston, prosecuting, said: “Hughes was on remand in Durham Prison at the time.
“He also drew attention to the situation by running away from the visiting room table.
“Forster was taken to a separate room, where prison officers found a small package containing four buprenorphine tablets. These have a high value in prison.”
Judge Robert Adams said: “I would be failing in my public duty if I did not send you to custody, even if only for a short time.
“A message needs to be sent to others tempted to behave in the way you did.”
An investigation into his death will be now be carried out by the ombudsman.
Hughes, 26, of Fulwell Road, Sunderland, admits setting fire to his cabin on a DFDS ferry as it was sailing from North Shields to Amsterdam on December 28 last year.
He is due to be sentenced later this month.