HMP Chelmsford prisoner felt he 'had to offend' to get help

Chelmsford Prison
Image caption Joseph Hause died at HMP Chelmsford in Janaury

A prisoner who was found hanged in his cell had told staff he felt he had to committ "a serious crime" to get help after being homeless when he was released on licence, an inquest heard.

Joseph Hause, 38, died at HMP Chelmsford on 13 January this year, two weeks after being rearrested.

The inquest at Essex Coroner's Court heard he had a history of substance abuse and medical problems.

A jury concluded the cause of his death was suicide.

The inquest was told Mr Hause had epilepsy, and needed a wheelchair.

After being released from prison on licence on 22 December 2017, he had lived on the streets and spent £44 of the £46 he was given upon discharge on a wheelchair.

Mr Hause was rearrested on 28 December 2017 and was found unresponsive in his cell at about 23:20 GMT on 12 January. He was declared dead at 00:15 GMT the following day.

A post-mortem examination also found he had taken a possible lethal dose of prescribed and unprescribed medication at the time of his death, the inquest heard.

'Tragic case'

Det Insp David Richards, of Essex Police, told the inquest a "suicide note" to Mr Hause's former partner, whom he had been convicted of beating, had been found and expressed his regret over how their relationship had gone.

He said: "[After being rearrested] he was punching himself in transit and very upset. He felt if he was released from recall he would have to offend with a serious crime to get the help he needed."

Mr Hause was monitored by prison staff and the inquest heard over the coming days he had been more positive, believing he might "get the help he needed".

On 12 January, Mr Hause was last seen in his cell writing letters on his bed, the inquest was told, before being found unresponsive.

A Prison Service spokeswoman said it was a "tragic case".

"Our sympathies remain with the family and friends of Mr Hause," she said.

"HMP Chelmsford has accepted the seven recommendations from the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman and will work hard to ensure other prisoners get the support they need."

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