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Why no apology for son’s death?’

PUBLISHED: 11:41 27 August 2009 | UPDATED: 17:05 25 August 2010

GOVERNMENT chiefs have refused to apologise to the family of a dead prisoner despite a damning coroner s report about the way prison staff treated the sick man in the hours leading up to his death.

GOVERNMENT chiefs have refused to apologise to the family of a dead prisoner despite a damning coroner's report about the way prison staff treated the sick man in the hours leading up to his death.

Epileptic Godfrey Moyo, 25, who was on remand at Belmarsh prison in Thamesmead died on January 3, 2005,

after being restrained face-down on the floor by prison officers for approximately 20 minutes following a fit in his cell.

Now the coroner who conducted the 11-day inquest at Southwark Coroners Court in June Andrew Walker, has written to the Ministry of Justice chiefs demanding prison staff are properly trained to deal with epileptic prisoners.

At the inquest the jury returned a narrative verdict which said Mr Moyo died of positional asphyxia with left ventricular failure following restraint and epilepsy. They recorded that his death was contributed by neglect.

The prisoner's sister nurse Lomaculo Godfrey, 35, said: "We do deserve an apology.

"But from the first day they didn't show any remorse. And now we would have expected to have received an apology from the Prison Service but they are just so quiet.

"They were not taking Godfrey's case seriously.

"I expect them to be professional - if a mistake is made, own up and apologise."

Mr Walker's report published on July 25 said prisons should have proper treatment plans in place, nursing staff should monitor the patient's vital signs, and medical staff should have appropriate guidance on when it is necessary to send an epileptic to hospital.

It read: "There was no understanding by the prison staff of epilepsy and this whole episode was treated as a discipline problem. Consideration should be given to a review of the discipline staffs' response when attending a patient who has suffered an epileptic seizure to ensure that the person is treated appropriately and placed immediately into the recovery position if falling unconscious.

"Even when the medical staff were told by the supervising officer that Mr Moyo had gone to hospital after the last seizure no steps were taken to take Mr Moyo to hospital."

A Prison Service spokesperson said: "Like every death in custody, Godfrey Moyo's death is a tragedy and our sympathies are with his family and friends.

"The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) will now carefully consider the inquest findings and the Coroner's Rule 43 report to see what lessons can be learned."

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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