South West Wales

Murderer James Colton's cancer death after back pain

James Colton
Image caption The hearing into James Colton's death heard he had been seen by medics in prison

A prison nurse and doctor have admitting failing in their duty of care to a murderer who died from cancer.

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

Jennifer Poyner, a general nurse team leader at Long Lartin, said she had not fulfilled her duty of care to the prisoner after failing to document any detail about a blemish on his back or ask whether it had changed size or shape when she saw him on 6 June 2013.

When he returned to see her with worsening back pain, Miss Poyner accepted she did not further investigate the cause, and blood tests recommended by a doctor were not carried out.

Questioning Miss Poyner, Worcestershire Coroner Geraint Williams asked her: "Do you consider you fulfilled your duty of care to this man?"

She replied, "No sir."

'Enormous pressure'

Meanwhile, Dr Stephen Pierini, a GP working at the prison, said he had removed a 1cm lesion from Colton's back but had not sent it for laboratory tests because of a lack of appropriate containers to put it in.

He later diagnosed Colton with mechanical back pain or sciatica caused possibly by a nerve.

When questioned by Mr Williams, the doctor admitted: "I think we did him a disservice."

Dr Pierini told the jury of four men and five women that the prison healthcare system was under "enormous pressure" at the time, after the NHS took over running of it from a private company.

The inquest, expected to last seven days, continues.

Related Topics

More on this story