Epileptic prisoner died after being held down by guards

08Jul09

Restraint - pic1originally published: 6th July 2009

Godfrey Moyo, an epileptic prisoner, suffocated after being held face down by guards at a high security prison, an inquest has found. Mr Moyo, 25, died at HMP Belmarsh in south east London in January 2005 after a series of seizures.

A jury at Southwark Coroner’s Court today delivered a narrative verdict which said that two nurses failed to monitor his condition properly as he was restrained, campaign group Inquest said.

Prison officers were also unable to spot signs of physical distress, the panel said. Mr Moyo suffered an epileptic fit in his cell in the early hours of the morning, and in the wake of the seizure had a behavioural disturbance during which he attacked his cellmate and struggled with guards.

He was then restrained and had two further seizures while pinned to the floor. While unconscious, Mr Moyo was carried to the prison’s intensive care cell where he was left kneeling against a bed. He was then injected with a sedative, and died within 20 minutes.

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