South West Wales

James Colton inquest: 'Care failure' before killer's cancer death

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Media captionJames Colton died two days after being to transferred from prison to hospital

Medics at a prison failed to detect a killer's cancer which meant chances to potentially prolong his life were missed, an inquest has concluded.

A jury returned a narrative conclusion into the death of James Colton, 34, from Swansea, who had complained of back pain for months.

He died two days after being transferred to hospital from Long Lartin prison in Worcestershire.

Colton was serving a life sentence for the murder of his friend in 2012.

After just over six hours of deliberations, the jury of five women and four men returned the verdict.

They concluded failings in the healthcare he was given at Long Lartin meant Colton was deprived of the necessary palliative care and a "potential prolonging" of his life.

The jury found "a series of missed opportunities and insufficient exploratory investigations" failed to detect his malignant melanoma, which had spread to other organs.

'More training'

The week-long inquest in Stourport-on-Severn had previously heard that doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff at the prison accepted they failed in a duty of care to Colton.

He died in August 2013, four months after he was transferred from Cardiff prison.

A post-mortem examination found he died from malignant melanoma - a type of skin cancer.

Speaking after the inquest, Hayley Colton, the prisoner's sister, said she was satisfied with the verdict and hoped that no-one else would have to go through what her brother went through.

Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust said it had made a number of changes to make healthcare services at the prison safer, including giving more training to medical staff.

Chief executive Sarah Dugan said: "We acknowledge a number of errors were made with regards the care given to Mr Colton and, in addition, opportunities were missed to make his death as comfortable and dignified as it could and should have been."

A spokesman for the Prison Service said: "Our sympathies are with James Colton's family and friends.

"We will consider the findings of his inquest to see what lessons can be learned in addition to the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman's investigation."

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