Prisoner hanged himself in cell

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A PRISONER with a history of depression hanged himself in his cell.

Paul Thomas Young, who was just days away from his 30th birthday, was found dead in B Wing at Her Majesty’s Prison Durham last April.

Mr Young, from Houghton, was serving a sentence for grievous bodily harm.

An inquest heard how Dr Vinay Sharma assessed Mr Young when he arrived at the prison five months previously, and he had shown no signs of depression or suicidal thoughts, despite having a history of mental illness.

Prison officer Kevin Ranson, who was working an overnight shift, told the hearing how he opened the window into Mr Young’s cell shortly before 5am on the morning of April 24 last year.

Mr Ranson broke down in tears as he recalled the moment he saw Mr Young hanging from his bed.  

Mr Young’s dad Thomas said his son had had a number of issues growing up, but had managed to overcome them before being sent to prison.

“We moved to South Africa when Paul was young and when we came back to England he had a tan and spoke with a different accent so he was bullied. But with Paul being an only child he knew how to look after himself.”

Despite a history of mental health problems and epilepsy, Mr Young said his son seemed fine during regular visits to see him at HMP Durham.

“I never thought he would do anything like this,” he said. “The only thing I noticed when I visited him before he died was that he was losing a bit of weight, but that was it.”

It took a jury of six women and five men just over half-an-hour to return a verdict that Mr Young hanged himself intending to take his own life.

That verdict was recorded by County Durham coroner Andrew Tweddle.

After the conclusion of the hearing into his son’s death, Mr Young said: “At least now we have got closure. The way that the coroner went through everything has been very thorough and he asked all of the right questions. It also laid to rest a lot of my suspicions. They all did a good job and the prison support officers have been great. Paul will be badly missed, that’s an understatement.”

Verdict: Suicide.

Twitter: @davidallison88