Derby

Karen Morris 'had history of self-harm', inquest hears

Karen Morris Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Karen Morris was transferred to HMP Foston Hall in October 2014, three months before she died

A prisoner who died in 2015 had a history of depression and self-harm, a jury at an inquest has heard.

Karen Morris, 33, a former farm worker from Hereford, was transferred to HMP Foston Hall in Derbyshire on 9 October 2014, and died at Royal Derby Hospital on 10 January 2015.

A post-mortem found the cause of death of as Tramadol drug toxicity.

The inquest opened at Derby Coroner's Court on Monday, and is set to run for more than a week.

History of harm

Robert Hunter, senior coroner for Derby and Derbyshire, heard that Miss Morris had self-harmed about two weeks before being transferred to Foston Hall, and was recommended for a mental health assessment on arrival. She was assessed by mental health workers a month later.

Nicola Lanfear, head of healthcare at Foston Hall at the time, said a "failing" with the computer recording systems delayed her being seen by the mental health team.

Janet Morris, Miss Morris's mother, told the court her daughter started having periods of depression following a holiday with her estranged father when she was 13. Though Karen used drugs as an adult, her mother said the depression only worsened when she went to prison.

Mrs Morris said her daughter was unhappy at being transferred to Foston Hall as she was separated from friends, but did not believe she tried to end her life deliberately.

However, Doctor Ashley Wilson, a GP based at the prison, said Miss Morris seemed "positive and settled" when she saw her on 23 October.

Dr Wilson said other prisoners told her after Miss Morris's death she was known to store Tramadol (a powerful painkiller) to trade with other prisoners or take all at once.

She said Miss Morris could have storied medication, got it from another prisoner or from an outside source, but said she did not believe she meant to take her life.

The inquest continues.

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