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14:41 – 07 April 2008
A transsexual prisoner was found hanging by her shoelaces after claiming she was the victim of bullying by inmates at Eastwood Park Prison.
Lisa Woodhall, 28, died on October 8, 2006, after she was found hanging in her cell.
She was born Paul Hayes, in Taunton, but went through a sex change, and an inquest into her death was opened today at Kingsweston House.
Lisa was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison in September 2005 after being convicted of grievous bodily harm, for slashing an ex’s new partner’s eyelids.
The court heard that in the days before her death she had repeatedly self-harmed, and had made threats against staff and fellow inmates.
She was taking antidepressants and spoke of feelings of anger and paranoia.
Detective Sergeant Ian Anderson of Staple Hill gave evidence at the inquest.
He said: “Lisa received therapeutic treatment as part of her rehabilitation at Send Prison, in Surrey.
“She talked about the issues that caused her concern, and had a particularly distressing childhood.
“She heard voices telling her to harm people and couldn’t resist much longer.”
Lisa had returned to Eastwood Park in September 2006 after eight months at Send Prison, the court heard.
On the morning of her death, she had been segregated from the rest of the prison population for 72 hours, for making threats against staff.
Mr Anderson said: “At 4.50pm on October 8, prison officers could get no response from her cell.
“She had blocked entry with a chair but entry was gained.
“She was found hanging by a shoelace from the privacy screen.”
DS Anderson said Lisa was taken to Frenchay Hospital unconscious, but could not be revived and she died at 6.03pm.
He said a piece of paper and a notebook were found in her cell by crime scene investigators the day after her death.
The notebook read: “I can trust no one except me. I grow tired of this war. A secure psychiatric hospital perhaps would have offered treatment, yet I suspect this option was never looked at.”
The court heard that Evelyn Shone, another prisoner at Eastwood, said other prisoners had been bullying Lisa, calling her a transvestite.
Lisa thought the staff weren’t doing enough to help her.
Coroner Brian Whitehouse asked the jury of five men and five women to consider whether the prison service took appropriate measures to ensure Lisa’s safety.
The case continues.