Kirsten Heaven secures damning narrative verdict in HMP Leeds bullying case

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Kirsten Heaven has secured a damning narrative verdict at the inquest into the death of a man in prison in 2010.

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On 23 May 2013 a jury returned the following damning narrative verdict, following a five-week inquest into the death of Craig Longstaff-Moore at HMP Prison Leeds on 31 January 2010, heard before HM Deputy Coroner for Leeds and a jury:

"Following Craig Longstaff Moore's reception into Her Majesty's Prison, Leeds after receiving a longer than expected six and a half year sentence for robbery the Pre-Sentence Report and other relevant medical information were not adequately dealt with. They were neither distributed sufficiently nor acted upon appropriately.

The Pre-Sentence Report highlighted the fact that any emotional crisis would escalate the risk of suicidal thoughts and self-harm.

On 30th January 2010 a newspaper article detailing Mr Moore's offence was available on the wing and circulated amongst prisoners. Mr Moore was aware of the newspaper article. The subsequent escalation of bullying focussed on the nature of the offence and took a more direct form including threats of violence and psychological torment.

Once the bullying was reported to prison staff the actions undertaken by the Senior Officer were appropriate but inadequate, further and more detailed investigation into the nature and form of bullying, better and more effective communication of the incident amongst evening and night staff or offering Mr Moore a place in a listener cell would have prevented him taking his own life.

The evening of the 30th January 2010 gave Mr Moore the opportunity to consider the factors outlined above as well as the letter received regarding his children. The combination of inadequate distribution of the Pre-Sentence Report and other documentation, length of sentence, the letter regarding his children, regret for his offence and the bullying was the cause of Mr Moore taking his own life."

HM Coroner also made a number of rule 43 recommendations.

Craig's family was represented by Kirsten Heaven of Garden Court Chambers and Fiona Borrill of Lester Morrill Solicitors.

Kirsten Heaven is a member of the Garden Court Inquests Team.

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