Beds, Herts & Bucks

Bedford Prison inquest: Inmate took his life after returning to jail

Bedford Prison Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Bedford Prison inmate Anthony Coughtrey died at the jail in 2015

A prisoner released after serving 23 years for murder, took his own life a week after he was returned to jail, an inquest has concluded.

Anthony Coughtrey, 42, died at Bedford Prison in September 2015, having been set free on licence in the January.

Ampthill Coroner's Court heard he was sent back to jail after a fight.

Mr Coughtrey was released on the condition he underwent treatment for drug addiction but was asked to leave two rehab centres over his behaviour.

The jury had been asked to decide if support for Coughtrey was adequate once he left prison, if his death could have been avoided, and if the authorities should have known he was at risk of harm.

Probation officer, Nick Moss told the inquest no accommodation could be found for Coughtrey except for a privately rented bedsit which was deemed too expensive.

Mr Coughtrey, who had been in rehab at a cost of £650 a week, was allowed to live with his sister despite this arrangement being a breach of the conditions of his licence, the inquest was told.

He began drinking heavily while there and his licence was revoked when he got into a fight on 23 September 2015.

On his return to jail, Mr Coughtrey was transferred to Bedford Prison's healthcare centre where he was observed by a nurse at half hourly intervals because he was considered at risk of self harm.

Despite being on watch he was found hanged and died on 30 September.

The jury concluded the cause of his death was suicide.

In 2015 there were four other self-inflicted deaths at Bedford prison and in July this year the jail received a rating of 'Serious Concern'; the lowest rating in the annual government prison performance report.

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