Investigation Report into Death In Custody

Published on November 15 2010

The Prisoner Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, Pauline McCabe, today made a total of nine recommendations following her investigation into the death in custody of Prisoner B, aged 36, at Maghaberry Prison on March 8, 2009.

Releasing her Investigation Report, Mrs McCabe said: “My primary aims are to ensure that any concerns put forward by the family have been taken into account and to make recommendations which will help prevent similar deaths in future at Maghaberry or elsewhere in the Northern Ireland Prison Service.

“Prisoner B was remanded into the custody of Maghaberry Prison on June 9, 2008. Sadly, he took his own life nine months later.”

“In this time, Prisoner B – a foreign national with little command of the English language – appeared to have had no clear guidance or expectation of what the outcome of his trial would be, or, indeed, the timing of the trial. My investigation found that this ongoing uncertainty, combined with a number of other personal circumstances, contributed to his decision to take his own life.

The Prisoner Ombudsman added: “Following a thorough investigation I am making nine recommendations to the Prison Service and its South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust partners which concern the use of translation services, a revision of practice in recording systems and arrangements surrounding the management of prisoners with mental health issues.”

Further media inquiries should be directed to David Cullen on 028 9080 2000, by mobile on 07919 598 710 or by email to

Notes to editors:

The Prisoner Ombudsman terms of reference (www. requires her office to investigate all deaths in prison custody since September 2005.
The Prisoner Ombudsman made a commitment when she took up post in September 2008 to publish all Death in Custody investigation reports. Copies of all reports published to date can be found at
When the Office was given this additional role, no extra resources were provided, however the current Prisoner Ombudsman secured some additional resources in summer 2009 and is currently working through a backlog of investigations.
In line with the Prisoner Ombudsman Terms of Reference a copy of the Report will also be sent to the Coroner.