Investigation Report into Death In Custody James (Harry) Speers

Published on January 19 2010

The Prisoner Ombudsman, Pauline McCabe, made a commitment when she took up post in September 2008 to publish all death in custody investigation reports.

The Prisoner Ombudsman for Northern Ireland will today publish on her Office website a copy of the Investigation Report into the death in prison custody of Mr James Donard Henry Speers who died on 18th February 2008.

In line with the Prisoner Ombudsman Terms of Reference a copy of the Report will also be sent to the Coroner.

Commenting on the Report, Pauline McCabe said,

“Deaths in prison custody are particularly sad events and have a significant impact on everyone involved. It is therefore very understandable that the family will have many questions about the last days and hours of their loved one. My investigation reports are intended to provide the family with answers to their questions. I hope the learning highlighted in our investigative reports, for the Prison Service, will help us to reduce the possibility of a death in prison.”

Further inquiries should be directed to Janet Devlin or Vicki Caddy at ASG on 028 9080 2000 or by email to or

Note to editors:

The Prisoner Ombudsman terms of reference (found here) require her to investigate all deaths in prison custody since September 2005.

When the office was given this role no additional resources were provided.
The current Prisoner Ombudsman secured some additional resources in Summer 2009 and is currently working through a backlog of death in custody investigations.
Copies of all death in custody investigation reports published to date can be found here
It will be normal practice for copies of Death in Custody investigation reports to be placed on the website with notification to the press through a press release.
Investigations are ongoing into a further 11 deaths in prison custody.