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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 July 2006, 18:33 GMT 19:33 UK
Mother's prison care 'inadequate'
Anne-Marie Bates
Miss Bates' care was "inappropriate" and "inadequate"
An inquest jury has criticised the care provided to a teenage mother found hanged in her cell at Brockhill Prison.

Anne-Marie Bates, 19, from Birmingham, was found hanged in August 2001, in the Worcestershire prison, two weeks after giving birth to her third child.

Returning a verdict of accidental death the jury concluded her care was "inappropriate" and "inadequate".

The Prison Service said the recommendations of an investigation into the death had been implemented.

Ms Bates, of Gillott Road, Edgbaston, had been remanded in custody to the women's prison on July 2001 charged with an offence of robbery earlier that month.

In an inquest at Stourport-on-Severn the jury concluded that putting Miss Bates, a juvenile, on the prison's A-wing, the most difficult wing in the adult part of the jail, was "inappropriate".

'Inappropriate relationship'

"There was inadequate support for Anne-Marie to deal with the bullying on A-wing, this is with particular reference to the final hour of her life," the jury concluded.

"There is sufficient evidence that there was an inappropriate relationship between a prison officer and an inmate.

"We are satisfied this was the driving force behind Anne-Marie's inappropriate transfer to A-wing."

Officer Barry Stevens has since resigned from the Prison Service.

We still want to know what will happen to those prison staff who failed Anne-Marie
Ron Brayson

The jury added she should not have been taken off suicide watch and her state of mind may have been affected by a system of drug withdrawal treatment at the prison.

She may have also been affected by "confusion" and a "lack of cohesion" around her application for bail and concerns for the care of her newborn baby.

Speaking after the hearing, Ms Bates' father Ron Brayson said he and her mother Violet were pleased with the jury's verdict.

"We always knew Anne-Marie should not have died," he said.

"We have been waiting for five years and the inquest vindicates what we have always believed.

"We still want to know what will happen to those prison staff who failed Anne-Marie."

'Damning evidence'

Helen Shaw, co-director of the charity Inquest which supports families of people who die in custody, called on the Prison Service to take action.

"Following the highly critical verdict and damning evidence heard at the inquest, it is crucial that the Prison Service make a statement about what steps they will be taking to hold to account those staff who failed Anne-Marie," she said.

A spokesman for the Prison Service said: "Following Anne-Marie's death, investigations were undertaken by the Prison Service and police.

"The Prison Service report into the circumstances of Anne-Marie's death made a number of recommendations which had been accepted and were being implemented before Brockhill changed function to a male prison."




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Watch a report about the inquest verdict



SEE ALSO
Inquest into prison death mother
19 Jun 06 |  Hereford/Worcs
Women's prisons become male jails
24 May 06 |  Hereford/Worcs

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