18 March 2019

Before Sean Horstead, Assistant Coroner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
Huntingdon Town Hall, Market Hill Huntingdon PE29 3PJ

Opens Monday, 18 March – expected to last up to 4 weeks

Annabella Landsberg died after she was found unresponsive on the floor of a segregation cell of HMP Peterborough on 6 September 2017. She was 45 years old. Evidence shows Annabella had been lying on the floor for 21 hours, after being restrained by prison officers. She was diabetic, and the inquest will consider questions around the treatment of her condition and cause of death. The inquest opened 18 March. 

Annabella was born in Harare, Zimbabwe and lived in Worthing in West Sussex. Known to her family as Bella, she was described by them as being very caring and intelligent. She was much loved by her siblings and her children. She fled from persecution in Zimbabwe and arrived in the UK in 2002.

Annabella had many health issues. In 2007 she was diagnosed with HIV and soon after was further diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. She also suffered a brain injury as a result of meningoencephalitis (an infection of the brain and surrounding membranes). Her family said her behaviour became challenging after 2007. She became withdrawn and acted in a way which made them question her mental health. She started to get into conflict with law mostly involving anti-social behaviour. 

In February 2016, she was remanded in custody in HMP Bronzefield and later sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for committing offences whilst subject to a suspended sentence. In May 2017, after spending some time in HMP Bronzefield and then HMP Send, she was transferred to HMP Peterborough. The staff there described Annabella’s behaviour challenging and she was often placed in the segregation unit. 

On 2 September, Annabella was restrained by the disciplinary staff and then left lying on the cell floor in the segregation unit for 21 hours. She died in hospital on 6 September 2017 from multi organ failure; on arrival at hospital she was found to be severely dehydrated. It would appear that many of the healthcare staff were unaware that she was diabetic.

Annabella’s family hope the following areas will be explored at her inquest:

  • The cause of her death;
  • The use of Anti-Social Behaviour programmes and the decision to segregate her;
  • The use of force on the evening of 2 September, including any post use of force assessments;
  • Observations from evening of 2 September to the morning of the 3 September;
  • Events of the 3 September, with a particular focus on the responses on the part of both discipline and medical staff to Annabella remaining on the floor of her cell for some 21 hours;
  • Management of her Type 2 diabetes, including issues around her medication.

The inquest will also consider issues around information sharing in the prison, and Annabella’s transfer to and treatment at Peterborough City Hospital.



For further information please contact Lucy McKay on [email protected] or 020 7263 1111

INQUEST has been working with the family of Annabella Landsberg since her death. The family is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Megan Phillips of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors and Alison Gerry of Doughty Street Chambers.

Others interested persons represented at the inquest include a nurse, two GPs, The Nursing and Midwifery Council and Sodexo Justice services.

In January 2018, HM Inspectorate of Prisons published a critical inspection report on HMP & YOI Peterborough. Annabella’s sister spoke to Channel 4 News about her concerns.

In May 2018 INQUEST published Still Dying on the Inside: Examining Deaths in Women’s PrisonsThe report highlights the lack of action from successive governments to prevent deaths and puts forward a series of recommendations to close women’s prisons by redirecting resources from criminal justice to community-based services.

In November 2018 the Health and Social Care committee published a report on Prison Health, echoing the concerns from both written and oral evidence given by INQUEST to the inquiry. See the INQUEST media release for more information.

In June 2018 the Ministry of Justice launched a long awaited ‘Female Offenders Strategy’. INQUEST responded, saying much of the strategy was unsubstantive, empty rhetoric.

Since the 2007 publication of Baroness Corston’s seminal review on women in the criminal justice system, which was hailed by many as the blueprint for change, there has been little long-term systemic change and many of the recommendations she made have yet again been ignored. In the period since her review was published there have been 104 deaths in women’s prisons.

The inquest into the death of Natasha Chin, a black woman from London who died in HMP Bronzefield, concluded in December 2018 finding neglect and systemic failures by prison and healthcare providers contributed to her death.