Leeds prisoner died after taking his own life in Armley cell while on a psychiatrist waiting list

A Leeds prisoner died after he took his own life while waiting to see a psychiatrist.

Saturday, 30th July 2022, 9:27 am

Dominic Noble, 32, had been on remand in HMP Leeds for two months when he was found hanged in his cell in August 2020.

He had been charged with charged with distributing terrorist material and it was his first time in prison.

A report into Mr Noble’s death by Prisons and Probation Ombudsman Sue McAllister found that concerns had been raised about his mental health when he arrived at the Armley prison.

Dominic Noble, 32, died at HMP Leeds in August 2020 (Photo: Simon Hulme)

Records showed he had depression, had tried to take his life in 2019 and smoked cannabis daily.

But the Ombudsman was satisfied that Mr Noble had not displayed an imminent risk of suicide or self-harm before his death.

On August 15, an officer found Mr Noble hanged in his cell. Paramedics tried to resuscitate him but he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Before he died, a mental health nurse had assessed Mr Noble in prison after he said that he was hearing voices and had paranoid thoughts.

He was referred for a routine assessment with a psychiatrist but was left on a waiting list, although he did have regular appointments with mental health nurses.

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While the report concluded that the clinical care Mr Noble received in prison was “of good standard”, a reviewer was concerned that he had not been able to see a psychiatrist.

The report found there was no clear referral process at HMP Leeds for non-urgent cases at the time and it recommended this was put in place.

HMP Leeds said waiting lists and referrals to psychiatrists are now discussed daily in order to prioritise appointments, which the Ombudsman accepted.

Mr Noble was also left with no running water for four days in July 2020 after damaging the sink in his cell.

The delay in moving him to a new cell was in line with Covid restrictions at the time and he was given a large bottle of water on a daily basis.

The report said: “We are concerned about the conditions Mr Noble had to live in for four days and the impact on Mr Noble’s dignity and mental and emotional wellbeing, particularly as he was waiting to see a psychiatrist.”

The Ombudsman recommended that when a prisoner damages a cell to the extent that his basic needs cannot be met, he is moved as quickly as possible and, in the meantime, his wellbeing is assessed.

It was accepted that these practices have now been put in place.

In the report, Ms McAllister said: “While some concerns were raised about his mental health, no significant concerns were raised when assessments were completed.

“Nonetheless, a routine referral was made for Mr Noble to see a psychiatrist.

“Unfortunately, this appointment did not take place before Mr Noble died as there was no coordinated system in place to ensure prisoners were seen promptly.

“We cannot say to what extent a psychiatric assessment might have addressed his needs.

“However, I am satisfied that Mr Noble gave staff no indication that he was at imminent risk of suicide or self-harm before his death.”