Beds, Herts & Bucks

Transgender prisoner Joanne Latham was 'at risk'

Exterior view of HMP Woodhill Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Joanne Latham was found dead in a cell at HMP Woodhill last month

A transgender prisoner who was found hanging in a cell was being observed every half an hour on the night she died, an inquest has heard.

Joanne Latham, 38, was discovered by a prison officer at HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes.

She was serving life for three attempted murders when she died on 27 November.

Latham was identified as being at risk of suicide the day before and put in a locked cell, the court heard.

The inquest is being heard in the name of "Eddie Latham, otherwise known as Joanne Marie Latham".

Eddie name change

Latham was registered under the name Joanne at the all-male prison and this was the name used by prison officers.

However, the court heard that she changed her name to Eddie Latham by deed poll earlier in 2015.

Coroner Tom Osborne asked prison officer Debbie Glyde whether the inmate had serious intentions to change gender. She replied that she "could not say because he went through phases".

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Initially, Latham was being observed once an hour on the night she died, but this was increased as she had become "more agitated," Coroner's officer Mel Riley said.

"During the night he covered the cell observation panel with a J Cloth and barricaded the door. He responded verbally to the 03:30 and 04:00 checks but not the 04:30 check," she added.

Officers were called to break in to the cell and Latham was pronounced dead at 06:20 GMT, Milton Keynes Coroner's court heard.

Latham was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2001 for an attempted murder.

She was later handed further life sentences for the attempted murders of a prisoner at HMP Frankland, in Durham, in 2007 and of a fellow patient at Rampton secure hospital, in Nottinghamshire, in 2011.

Latham's family, who are from Manchester, were not present at the hearing.

The inquest was adjourned until 2 February 2016.

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