Jail ‘warned’ of woman’s overdose — (BBC News)

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BBC News

Last Updated: Monday, 10 January, 2005, 19:31 GMT

An 18-year-old girl died of a drugs overdose in jail despite repeated warnings to prison authorities, her mother told an inquest on Monday.
Sarah Campbell died in Styal women’s prison in Cheshire on 18 January 2003 – three days before her 19th birthday.

She was found dead one day into her sentence for manslaughter.

Her mother Pauline Campbell said her daughter, who had a history of self harm, tried to kill herself on remand in Styal.

The court heard how Campbell went from being a promising art student and tennis champion in her youth to a heroin addict who was eventually sentenced for the manslaughter of a pensioner on 16 May 2002.

The elderly woman collapsed and died of a heart attack after Campbell tried to rob money from her.

The inquest, at Warrington Town Hall, held a one minute silence, at Mrs Campbell’s request, for her daughter, and five other prisoners who died within a year at Styal prison.

Retired lecturer Mrs Campbell, who broke down in tears, said she had made the prison aware numerous times her daughter was vulnerable and had been self-harming.

“My experience was that they would listen and say something would be done but I did not feel reassured or that anything would really be done.”

Self harm

She said her daughter had been prescribed the anti-depressant Seroxat, in 2000, after trying to harm herself.

Campbell was on the segregation unit at the jail when she told a nurse she had taken a “large quantity” of pills.

She was taken by ambulance to Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester but died from a toxic level of drug in her blood despite doctors’ attempts to save her.

The inquest, which is scheduled to last for two weeks, will hear from 39 witnesses.