Simon Pickering, 28, committed suicide in Doncaster prison (UK) on June 9, 2019.
In July 2021, report on his death was released. The report revealed that Pickering suffered from mental health problems and was a drug user. While in police and court custody he made suicide and self-harm attempts, so he was placed on constant observations. After arrival at the prison in Doncaster, he said that he heard voices and wanted to die. Despite all this, the prison staff assessed Pickering as a low suicide risk and reduced his observations to once per hour.
Pickering was the third person to die in Doncaster prison since 2017. Even before his death, the prison administration was warned that the measures taken by the staff were insufficient to prevent the suicide of prisoners.
MASS MEDIA ABOUT THE CASE:
“Doncaster’s implementation of these procedures [suicide prevention], designed to protect and support Mr Pickering, was wholly inadequate,” ombudsman Sue McAllister said.
“Mr Pickering had several risk factors indicating that he was vulnerable to harming himself, but the risk was underestimated. The assessment interview was held outside the stipulated time. The 2 Prisons and Probation Ombudsman ACCT document did not accompany Mr Pickering around the prison. Checks were not made as directed and when they were, they were often of poor quality. Staff assessing Mr Pickering had not familiarised themselves with his background. The assessment interview and first review were combined, and the assessment of risk was unclear and inappropriate,” – the report said.
Independent investigation into the death of Mr Simon Pickering
The FBI initiative group requested clarifications on the current case from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Justice Minister and Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland, and British Home Secretary Priti Sushil Patel. The initiative group considers it necessary to combat prison staff neglect and, if necessary, can provide legal and informational assistance to the family of the victim.