Grieving family claim brother who hanged himself at Bedford Prison was failed

Bedford prison
Bedford prison

The family of a convicted killer, who hanged himself at Bedford Prison, believe more could have been done to support him when he was out on licence.

Anthony Coughtrey, aged 42, died on September 30 last year.

Although out on licence, he had been recalled to prison after getting into a fight.

A pre-inquest review at Ampthill yesterday heard that Mr Coughtrey had been released on licence in February 2015 on condition that he work with the Kenward Trust.

But Jack Holborn, barrister for the family, told the inquest that placement did not work out and Mr Coughtrey ended up at his sister’s, in breach of the parole guidelines.

“He ended up living at his sister’s house which the parole board had expressly ruled against,” said Mr Holborn.

There were fears it would give him access to alcohol, which was a factor in the murder of a 19-year-old father of three William Walsh which he committed in Stevenage in 1992. He briefly escaped from Wormwood Scrubs in 1995.

“By September Mr Coughtrey had chronic pancreatitis,” said Mr Holborn.

“It doesn’t appear to the family that the plans set out by the parole board were followed and that could have led to his death.

“The family believe his death will not fully be investigated if you do not look at how he ended up in the state he was in while under supervision,” he told Bedfordshire coroner Tom Osborne.

But counsel for the Ministry of Justice said Mr Coughtrey had had serious issues with drugs while in prison.

“What is being suggested is the state is responsible for him going back on drink,” he said.

Mr Coughtrey was arrested in Stevenage in September last year after getting into a fight, in breach of his licence. He was transferred to Bedford prison on September 24 and died on September 30. Cause of death is hanging and chronic pancreatis.

Setting a full inquest for September, Mr Osborne said he would highlight to the prison and probation service the concerns of the family.