South West Wales

James Colton inquest: Watchdog criticises cancer care

James Colton
Image caption A post-mortem examination found James Colton died from malignant melanoma - a type of skin cancer

A prison watchdog described the case of a murderer whose cancer was only diagnosed days before he died as "one of the worst examples of poor care".

Mr Colton, 34, of Swansea, died in August 2013 after months complaining of back pain, Worcestershire Coroners' Court heard.

Prisons and probation ombudsman Nigel Newcomen said Long Lartin prison's care fell "far below" that in the community.

He was serving a life sentence for murder.

Colton died at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch in August 2013, two days after being admitted as an emergency from the maximum security prison near Evesham.

A jury at the inquest in Stourport-on-Severn heard that his back pain was diagnosed by a prison GP and physiotherapist as muscular or skeletal.

Despite his condition worsening over the next two months, no further investigation of his symptoms was made, the hearing was told.

Claire Lees, acting head of healthcare at the prison, accepted the care given to Colton was below the required standard.

Asked by the coroner how such a case could happen in the 21st Century, she said: "It shouldn't have happened. I can't explain how it happened."

The inquest continues on Monday.

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