14 April 1997

Deborah Coles Co director of INQUEST said: “This death is a shocking indictment of the medical care afforded people in prison. This tragic and preventable death only highlights the failings of the prison medical service and the urgent and overwhelming need for its abolition and replacement with National Health Service care.” “It is disgraceful and deeply insensitive to the family of Mr Hay for Lincoln Prison Governor to suggest that his staff have been exonerated by this verdict when the two staff most directly concerned with the care of Mr Hay refused to answer any questions at all on the grounds that they might incriminate themselves” “Clear guidance to medical staff working in prisons must be issued as a matter of urgency to ensure that other deaths do not occur and that lessons are learnt”.

Jeff Hay, the brother of the deceased said: My brother Brett had lived with his diabetes without any difficulty since he was 17 and all the evidence at the inquest was that he was well and able to cope with his condition. despite this on Friday July 5th 1996 my brother was admitted to Lincoln Prison and within three days he was found dead on the prison hospital wing from a condition relating to his diabetes. How could that have happened? At the inquest it was impossible to question two of the key individuals concerned with the events leading up to his death. Neither the doctor who was telephoned two hours before his death because of concerns that Brett’s condition was not improving (but who did not come to the prison) nor the Health care officer who was responsible for him on the hospital wing were prepared to answer questions. The inquest heard however that a glucose drink given to him by the health care officer had played a significant part in his death. Both the officer and the doctor had been advised by their lawyers not to answer questions on the grounds they might incriminate themselves. In addition the Coroner refused to call two other prisoners to give evidence who had both said that Brett had been in acute pain and gasping for breath. The answer to why my brother died could not be properly investigated.

“My family will continue to try and find out what happened to Brett and why a healthy diabetic could die in a prison hospital within three days of his admission leaving a wife and four children trying to come to terms with this tragedy”.