Monday 19 February 2018

Two prisoners found hanged in their cells

Michael McHugh

Two people are believed to have hanged themselves while in custody in the North.

Ligatures were recovered from the cells of Samuel Carson, 19, and Frances McKeown, 23, after they were discovered by staff at Hydebank Wood Young Offenders Centre and Prison in south Belfast yesterday.

Prison Service director general Colin McConnell said: "Yesterday's tragic events at Hydebank Wood have stunned everyone and there is deep sadness across the service."

The service said the deaths would be investigated by the police, coroner service and Prisoner Ombudsman.

Just after 5pm yesterday during the unlock of offenders in an area known as Elm 1, officers found Mr Carson collapsed in his cell. They tried to resuscitate him but he could not be revived. A ligature was recovered from his cell.

At around 8.30pm last night during a routine check by staff in a part of Hydebank known as Ash 4 and housing women prisoners officers found Ms McKeown collapsed in her cell. Efforts by staff and paramedics to revive her were unsuccessful. A ligature was also recovered from her cell.

Mr McConnell added: "At this very difficult time I offer my sympathies to both the Carson and McKeown families. They are in the thoughts and prayers of our entire service.

"I also want to recognise the efforts made by the staff who were on duty at the time, who did everything they could to bring about a different outcome."

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