Ministry of Justice Pays £17,500 Damages Following Prison Suicide

PrisonPrisoners inevitably suffer a loss of liberty, but all their other human rights are unaffected by their incarceration. In a case on point, the elderly mother and sister of a remand prisoner who took his own life won £17,500 in compensation from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

The prisoner, aged in his 40s, was held in custody pending his trial on an aggravated burglary charge. He had endured bullying after incurring debts to fellow inmates and killed himself after his television was, for the second time, stolen from his cell. It was alleged that he was clearly vulnerable, had threatened suicide previously and that prison officers’ failure to deal with the theft promptly was the final straw.

After his loved ones contacted solicitors, they launched proceedings, claiming that the failure to protect him amounted to a breach of his right to life, enshrined in Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Despite making no admission of liability, the MoJ agreed to a financial settlement of the claim. The money would be split equally between the mother and sister, and the mother planned to spend her share on ensuring that she would be buried alongside her son.