Investigations launched after two deaths in four days at Winchester Prison

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INVESTIGATIONS have been launched following two deaths within days of each other at Winchester Prison.

As reported by the Hampshire Chronicle campaigner Haydn Burton was found hanging in his cell on July 15. He was taken to hospital where he died three days later.

Now it has been revealed that a second man, Daryl Hargrave, 22, of Gosport, also died after being found unresponsive in his cell. It is understood he too was found hanging.

Like Mr Burton, Mr Hargrave was on the remand wing of the prison where he was being detained on a GBH charge.

When asked about the circumstances of Mr Hargrave’s death a Prison Service spokesman said: “Staff attempted CPR, he was taken to an outside hospital but pronounced dead at 4pm.”

The Ministry of Justice was unable to say how long he had been in prison.

The spokesman said both deaths are now under investigation by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, but refused to comment further.

The prison has now come under pressure from criminal justice campaign groups to look into whether there are any links between the deaths.

The Criminal Justice Alliance (CJA), formed of more than 70 groups that want to improve the justice system, said it was shocking that the deaths occurred within days of each other.

Director of CJA, Ben Summerskill, said: “This is the kind of thing that we are increasingly concerned about.

“When this happens once it’s a tragedy, when it happens twice in a very short space of time we would hope that the prison itself looks very closely at whether there’s a link between these incidents.

“It’s shocking that this should be happening at all in prisons, let alone on a regular basis.”

Mr Burton, 42, formerly of Wolfe Close in Stanmore, died on July 18 after he was found hanging in his cell on July 15.

Senior coroner for central Hampshire, Grahame Short, has opened inquests into both deaths which are listed as hanging. Both have been adjourned to dates to be fixed.

A memorial has been set up in Winchester High Street for Mr Burton, who had become well-known in Winchester over the last couple of months for protesting for equal rights dressed as Superman with a loud hailer.

He was a member of New Fathers 4 Justice.

His friends and supporters held a vigil last Friday outside the memorial at an empty shop in the High Street, between Cath Kidston and Lloyds Bank.

Despite the city council painting over it twice, they agreed to leave it for one week.

A spokesman said: “Winchester City Council offers its condolences to the friends and relatives of Haydn Burton. There has been some offensive graffiti which the council has removed.

“The informal memorial will be left in place for a week in recognition that some people wish to express their condolences in this way. It will then be removed.”

Shoppers this week were stopping to read the messages, including one from his grandmother that said: “God bless you my angel x”.

A Facebook group called ‘Justice for Haydn Burton’ has attracted 541 members.

Mr Burton was being held on remand at the prison facing an allegation of assault.

He was also due to be sentenced at crown court for possession of an offensive weapon, criminal damage to a police cell, and breach of a criminal behaviour order by being anti-social.

Winchester and Chandler’s Ford MP Steve Brine said the ongoing coroner and ombudsman investigations should be allowed to take their course and added that he could see the Ministry of Justice launching its own review, in the same way police have recently announced its own inquiry into deaths in custody.