Before HM Senior Coroner for Essex, Caroline Beasley-Murray 
Chelmsford Coroner's Court, Seax House, Essex CM1 1LX

4 December 2017, 10.00am – expected to last two weeks

Craig David Royce, a 46 year old father of two from Rochford, was found hanging in his cell at HMP Chelmsford on 25 December 2016, Christmas day. He died the following day in Broomfield Hospital. The inquest into his death has opened today (4 December) at Chelmsford Coroner's Court.   

Craig had long-standing mental health and substance abuse issues prior to his arrival at HMP Chelmsford. Despite this, he had minimal contact with mental health and drug rehabilitation services at the prison. In the days before his death, Craig was placed on an Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork (ACCT) Review after he informed staff that he had made a ligature and was having suicidal thoughts. 

It is anticipated that the inquest will explore the following issues:

  • Whether suicide and self-harm prevention procedures were implemented properly, including whether correct decisions were made in relation to his level of observations and the management of the risk he posed to himself;
  • Whether Craig received adequate care for his mental health and substance abuse issues and whether this impacted on the risk that he posed to himself;
  • Whether the prison’s response to Craig’s allegations of bullying was sufficient and whether this impacted on the risk that he posed to himself.

An inquest into the death of Dean Saunders at HMP Chelmsford earlier this year found that neglect had contributed to Dean’s death. Craig’s death was one of three self-inflicted deaths at the prison in 2016, and there has been at least one further self-inflicted death in October 2017.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

For further information and to note your interest contact Lucy McKay at INQUEST.

INQUEST has been working with the family of Craig Royce since January 2017. The family is represented by Solicitor Anna-Louise Thwaites of Bindmans LLP and Counsel Ifeanyi Odogwu of Garden Court Chambers.

More information on the conclusion of Dean Saunders’ inquest in January 2017 here.