Inquest opens into prison death of Sunderland dad, 44, who died while in HMP Durham

An inquest has been opened into the death of a Sunderland dad in Durham prison.

Wednesday, 20th March 2019, 5:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th March 2019, 6:28 am
Durham Prison.

Forty-four-year-old Raymund Mulligan, of Atkinson Buildings, Millfield, was found in his cell at the jail in the early hours of March 29 last year.

A jury inquest into his death has been opened at Crook Coroner’s Court and will continue this week.

Assistant coroner Tanyka Rawden told the jury of eleven men and woman that the location of Mr Mulligan’s death should not affect their deliberations.

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“He was in custody at HMP Durham at the time of his death,” she said.

“The fact he was in custody should not influence your thinking in any way.

“He was entitled to the same level of care as somebody not in custody.”

The jury would have to consider a range of subjects, she said: “Raymund’s risk to himself; the assessment of Raymund’s risk to himself; the management of Raymund’s risk to himself; the communication and sharing of information in relation to Raymund’s risk to himself; what happened on the 28th and 29th of March; whether Raymund intended to take his own life or whether he intended that somebody would intervene; and whether Raymund’s death could have reasonably been prevented.”

HMP Durham custodial manager Matthew Burton told the jury all staff had received suicide and self-harm (Sash) training on how to identify new arrivals who might pose a risk to themselves.

Prisoners who arrived at the jail would be interviewed and examined by a nurse: “At least three of these questions are aimed at mental health,” said Mr Burton.

If there were any concerns, a specialist mental health nurse was available on site. All staff were able to open an ACTT - Assessment Care in Custody and Teamwork - document containing details of worries and any actions taken to be held in the office of the prisoner’s landing and which would trigger a review of the individual case.

“The idea is that the person who does the review will continue with that ACTT, so the person in question does not have to explain every single time why they are in an ACTT document,” said Mr Burton.

New inmates were given a telephone PIN number to contact the Samaritans and the charity also ran a Listeners service, which allowed new arrivals to speak to trusted prisoners.

Mr Mulligan had been on recall to prison, rather than a first time inmate, but would still have been assessed: “It is individual - those new to custody will have different fears from those returning,” said Mr Burton.