Manchester Prison Numbers 'Too High'

A prison in Manchester, where an inmate was found hanged in his cell, has been told by inspectors that its suicide rates are too high.

Chief inspector of prisons Nick Hardwick said there were seven suicides at Manchester Prison in less than two years, with prison staff simply saying “that was the way things were in Manchester”.

The inspection last September came before alleged killer Barry Morrow was found hanged in his cell there earlier this month.

Mr Hardwick said: “The inspectors also found that the number of self-harm incidents had dropped from an average of 22 a month in 2009 to 12 a month in 2010 and 10 a month last year.

Morrow was due to face trial in May over the deaths of 54 year old Angela Holgate, and 75 year old Alice Huyton, whose strangled bodies were found at Mrs Holgate's home in Southport on December 3.

He was found hanging in his cell on February 9 and pronounced dead the same day. An investigation by the prisons and probation ombudsman is under way.

Geoff Dobson, deputy director of the Prison Reform Trust campaign group, said: “The Prison Reform Trust hopes staff will move swiftly to learn the lessons of these tragic incidents and improve arrangements for the care of prisoners at risk of self-harm.”