2 September 2021

Before James Thompson, HM Assistant Coroner
County Durham & Darlington Coroner’s Court (remote access for media)
Opens 6 September 2021 - scheduled for 5 days

Charlie Todd was 18 years old when he was found unresponsive on 2 September 2019 at HMP Durham. He was being held in the Care and Separation Unit (segregation) at the time of his death and had been transferred there at 10:00am that morning, just 6 hours before he was found having ligatured. The inquest into his death opens on Monday 6 September 2021.

Charlie’s mother describes him as “a handsome loving boy who loved to tell a story and would put a smile on the face of anyone who met him. He was a cheeky-chappie and was one of the boys, happy go lucky and loyal, he would do anything to help or please others with or without his struggles. He was loved and will be missed infinitely.”

Charlie was not being monitored under suicide and self-harm procedures (known as ACCT) prior to being found dead. The family have questions about the treatment Charlie received, including the decision to send him into segregation.

There are questions around whether the required hourly checks were completed during the 6 hours that Charlie spent in the Care & Separation Unit and how staff assessed him prior to his stay.

The family hope the inquest will consider:

  • The transfer of Charlie to the Care & Separation Unit and the assessment required.
  • The monitoring of Charlie’s wellbeing at the prison, including checks in the hours prior to his death whilst in segregation.

Since 2015 there have been 42 deaths of men at HMP Durham, of which 17 were reported by the prison to be self-inflicted. The most recent inspection of the prison in September 2018, a year before Charlie’s death, found issues with safety and a lack of action on recommendations arising following previous self-inflicted deaths.


For further information and to note your interest please contact Lucy McKay on 020 7263 1111 or [email protected]. A photo of Charlie is available here.

The inquest is being held at County Durham & Darlington Coroner’s Court. Those wishing to attend the inquest remotely must contact the court directly.

Charlie’s mother is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group member Ruth Bundey of Harrison Bundey solicitors. She is supported by INQUEST Senior Caseworker Jodie Anderson.

Other Interested persons represented are HMP Durham and Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust.

Journalists should refer to the Samaritans Media Guidelines for reporting suicide and self-harm and guidance for reporting on inquests.

The latest statistics on deaths and self-harm in prison in England and Wales (published 29 April 2021) showed a record high of 154 deaths in prison in the past quarter, and a 42% increase in deaths in the past 12 months.