Killer James Colton 'faking' fatal illness fear

James Colton James Colton had been complaining of back pain for months before he died of cancer

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A murderer with undiagnosed cancer was suspected of faking illness, an inquest has heard.

James Paul Colton, 34, from Swansea, died in hospital after complaining about back pain for months.

He was serving a life sentence for murdering his friend Gary Edwards following a drunken argument.

The inquest at Worcestershire Coroners' Court heard that Colton died in August 2013, four months after being transferred to Long Lartin prison.

A jury at the hearing in Stourport-on-Severn heard that another inmate had told staff that Colton was "exaggerating his pain" in order to get out of the prison.

It led to an "intelligence assessment" over concerns that Colton might be manipulating the healthcare system.

'Unkempt'

Giving evidence on the second day of the inquest, mental health nurse Samantha Flint said she had seen the Swansea prisoner five or six times in the last week before he was admitted to hospital.

He died just two days after being taken to a ward at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch.

Ms Flint said Colton had needed help brushing his teeth and had an "unkempt" appearance and was neglecting personal hygiene.

She denied that his condition appeared to be deteriorating, and said she thought he may have had depression, however accepted she did not do a mental health assessment on him.

'Look of fear'

When the severity of his illness became clear and he was taken to hospital as an emergency, his condition "completely shocked" Clive Webster, a retired senior prison officer from Long Lartin.

Mr Webster, who escorted Colton to hospital by ambulance, told the inquest he was "dishevelled, looking very frail, in obvious distress and pain," and with a look of fear on his face about what was happening to him.

The prisoner's sister, Hayley Colton, wept as Mr Webster spoke.

Coroner Geraint Williams read the evidence of a consultant who saw Colton on his admission to hospital, who said he was found to be suffering from advanced cancer with metastases in his liver and bone, and also renal and liver failure.

He was given palliative care and died on 31 August.

Earlier in the inquest, the jury heard that another nurse and doctor at the prison accepted failing in their duty of care to the prisoner.

The hearing is expected to last another week.

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