Northern Ireland news

Prison service submits CCTV for inquest into death of suicide-watch inmate Colin Bell

Colin Bell died while in a "safe cell" for vulnerable prisoners at Maghaberry jail in 2008
Siobhan Fenton, Press Association

Prison authorities have submitted CCTV footage for an inquest into the death of an inmate on suicide watch.

Colin Bell died while in a "safe cell" for vulnerable prisoners at the high security Maghaberry jail in Co Antrim in 2008.

The 34-year-old, who was serving a sentence for manslaughter, had a history of self-harm and had been deemed to be at risk of taking his own life.

Coroner Suzanne Anderson was told at a preliminary inquest in Belfast that CCTV footage from the jail was handed over by the Northern Ireland Prison Service in June.

Witnesses have also been contacted and informed that the inquest is taking place, the coroner was told.

Bell's case prompted major reform of how potentially suicidal prisoners are handled in Northern Ireland.

Several high-level reports have been completed into the circumstances surrounding the inmate's death.

In 2014, Daniel Barclay, a former prison officer who was responsible for monitoring Bell on CCTV and regularly checking him in the "safe cell", was found guilty of misconduct in a public office and given a three-year suspended sentence.

A court heard that Barclay had not given sufficient attention to Bell on the night of his death.

The officer was seen watching television, making a sandwich and chatting to colleagues.

During this time, Mr Bell died by suicide and his body was found 30 minutes after his death by another prison officer.

An inquest was subsequently ordered to establish the circumstances of his death and a further hearing will take place on October 24.

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