23rd November 2016

34 year old Ainslie Rush died at HMP Ranby on the 7th April 2015.  He had a history of self harm and suicide attempts.


A jury yesterday concluded that Ainslie did not intend to take his life but died as a result of “misadventure”, his actions influenced by the effects of synthetic cannabis.


The jury heard evidence that Ainslie was displaying increasingly bizarre behaviour in the hours before his death.


He spoke to prison staff of being infected by HIV and worms being put onto his toothbrush.

Shortly after lock up on the 6th April he showed a note to a prison officer at his cell window saying “keep an eye on me today please”.

Later that evening he told a prison officer that he had been poisoned with an overdose of ketamine.

The last contact with Ainslie was when a television was brought to his room at 18.30 hrs.   No observations or further contact with Ainslie took place until the following morning when at 7.42, during morning call, he was discovered hanging in his cell.  Paramedics were called but were unable to save him.

The jury unanimously found that the prison had failed to take adequate steps to monitor and protect Ainslie.  They found that failures by staff to properly communicate and take appropriate safeguarding action possibly contributed to his death.


They concluded that an ACCT (a process required for the protection of prisoners at risk of self harm) should have been opened the afternoon before his death in response to his deteriorating condition.


HMP Ranby has seen a stark increase in self inflicted deaths.


Between 2005 and 2012 there were no self inflicted deaths reported.

In 2013, three deaths occurred (2 self inflicted and 1 awaiting classification).

In 2014, four deaths occurred (2 self inflicted, 1 ‘natural causes’ and 1 awaiting classification).

In 2015 (the year of Ainsley’s death), six deaths occurred (4 self inflicted, 1 homicide and 1 awaiting classification). Two of these deaths occurred within 4 days of each other.

While the 2012 HMIP inspection report (that followed an announced inspection) described a prison that was ‘almost outstanding’, a report in 2014 (following an unannounced inspection) described a troubling picture, concluding the prison was not safe, with ineffective systems and structures to reduce violence and self harm in response to threats and intimidation.


The HMIP wrote in its report of December 2015 (following an announced inspection of Ranby) that “safety remained a major concern”.


The family is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group member Kelly Darlington, Farleys solicitors.




 Notes to editors:


The number of self inflicted prison deaths (England and Wales) has continued to rise over the past five years: 58 in 2011, 61 in 2012, 76 in 2013, 87 in 2014, 88 in 2015 and 95 to date in 2016.


See INQUEST statistics: http://inquest.org.uk/statistics/deaths-in-prison

For further information, please contact INQUEST on 0207 263 1111.


INQUEST provides specialist advice on deaths in custody or detention or involving state failures in England and Wales. This includes a death in prison, in police custody or following police contact, in immigration detention or psychiatric care. INQUEST's policy and parliamentary work is informed by its casework and we work to ensure that the collective experiences of bereaved people underpin that work. Its overall aim is to secure an investigative process that treats bereaved families with dignity and respect; ensures accountability and disseminates the lessons learned from the investigation process in order to prevent further deaths.


Please refer to INQUEST the organisation in all capital letters in order to distinguish it from the legal hearing.