Grieving Chesterfield mum challenges inquest jury's view that her son planned to die in Nottingham prison

A Chesterfield mother in mourning has challenged a jury's view that her son planned to die in prison.

Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 11:54 am
Marc Maltby.

Sharon Whitford spoke out after listening to six days of evidence about gardener Marc Maltby, 23.

He was recalled to Nottingham Prison on September 23, 2017 and was found hanged alone in his cell 19 days later.

By nine to one, the jury declared that he "intended to bring about his death throughout the period of his ligation" - but Mrs Whitford disputed this.

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Sharon Whitford holding a picture of her son Marc Maltby - in the white top - who was found dead in Nottingham Prison in October 2017.

After the hearing, she said: "There is no way he would have done that. He loved life. He loved his family.

"My best memories are of him coming around to my house in Chesterfield after the children had gone to school, switching on the music loud so we could dance around and laugh.

"That was the sort of son he was, always happy."

He was due to be freed from jail a fortnight after he died. Mrs Whitford believes he would have come out safely if she had been able to speak to him.

The inquest heard that he asked to phone her, saying it was her birthday - even though it was not.

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Chesterfield mother demands answers after son, 23, dies in Nottingham prison

"My son liked to talk and he listened to me. That is my son and people should have listened to him," said Mrs Whitford, 45.

After he failed to make the call, he began to damage his cell, prompting an officer to use a ping pong table to prevent staff being hit by anything thrown out.

The jury decided that staff care and response time was "adequate" up to the point where he began damaging his cell on October 12, 2017.

But after that, they said staff actions were "inadequate," including placing of the ping pong table against the door.

They found that Mr Maltby died as a result of hanging. He was spotted by another inmate and could not be revived by prison staff.

The hearing was told that he wrote a note, suggesting that he was going to be "cut up" by other prisoners.

He had a fight with a cellmate after being accused of smoking the last of the drug spice they shared.

At the end of the hearing at Nottingham Council House, Assistant Coroner Jonathan Straw offered his "sincere condolences" to Mr Maltby's family.

The inquest coincided with the second anniversary of the death.

Speaking to the jury, he added: "It is not easy sitting and listening to the events which immediately preceded the ending of this poor young man's life."

After the hearing, the family's barrister Nick Armstrong said: "The table tennis table obscured sight into the cell. It also raises concerns about whether the cell bell was noted or not."

He said that Mr Maltby asked for help from mental health workers but this did not come.

After the threats from other prisoners, Mr Maltby should have been aided by a "violence reduction investigation" but this never started, added Mr Armstrong.