22nd June 2012

10am, Monday 25 June 2012
Aberdare Coroner’s Court, Rock Grounds, 1st Floor, Aberdare, CF44 7AE
Before Coroner Louise Hunt

The inquest of Shaun Beasley from Epsom, Surrey, will start this Monday 25 June at Aberdare Coroner’s Court in Aberdare, Wales.

Shaun was 29 when he was found hanging in his cell at HMP & YOI Parc on 24 August 2010.  HMP & YOI Parc is the only private prison in Wales.  It is managed by G4 Securicor, and at the time of Shaun’s death healthcare services were contracted out to Primecare Forensic Medical Services, a national provider of primary healthcare services to prisons, police and other forensic establishments.  Shaun was highly vulnerable and suffered serious mental ill health.  He had a history of self harm and had made several serious suicide attempts.

In May 2007 Shaun was given an indeterminate sentence (IPP) with a minimum tariff of two years and 145 days.  At the time of his death he had served over three years.

He had been informed at a parole board hearing that he would have to complete a course before being eligible for release.  Two weeks prior to his death, he was moved from HMP Littlehey, where he had been for two and a half years and was settled, to HMP Parc where he was told he would be able to take the course.  Once he had arrived at Parc he was informed the course was not in fact available at the prison, and he would not be able to take it for another 2-3 years.

The evening of his death he rang his family and told them he could not cope any more.  The family immediately rang the prison to alert them.  Shaun was already on an ACCT document (Assessment, Care in Custody, and Teamwork – the system used for prisoners who are at risk of self harm) and on half hourly observations.  Despite the family’s telephone call observations were not increased and he was found hanging in his cell shortly after midnight.

HMP & YOI Parc was the subject of a damning HMIP inspection in September 2010, shortly after Shaun’s death, which found that healthcare services were not being delivered to an acceptable standard.  G4S took over healthcare services that month and a decision was taken to close the inpatient unit.

The family hopes the inquest will address the following questions and issues:

  1. Why was Shaun transferred from Littlehey to Parc prison when the course he needed to attend was not available there?
  2. What steps were taken to respond to Shaun’s deteriorating mental health following his arrival at Parc?
  3. Why, shortly before his death, was Shaun moved from a cell with a camera to one without?
  4. What action was taken following the phone call from Shaun’s family on the day of his death and why were observations not increased?
  5. Whether adequate records were kept and communication processes adhered to
  6. The relationship and actions of G4S and Primecare concerning the provision of healthcare at Parc at the time of Shaun’s death, including monitoring, service provision and staffing levels.

Shaun’s sister said:

“We are devastated by Shaun’s death.  Shaun had a difficult childhood and was extremely vulnerable. I believe his death was totally preventable.  I knew he was in a bad way that day but the prison reassured me that he was safe.  I just hope this inquest finally explains to me what happened to my brother.”

Deborah Coles, co-director of INQUEST said:

“This inquest must address the many serious questions surrounding the treatment and care of a vulnerable and at risk man. There are also underlying questions about the private healthcare provider commissioned by G4S and ongoing concerns about the accountability framework in relation to private prisons.”

The family is being represented by Stephen Webber of Hugh James Solicitors