Nottingham Prison death: Inmate died from effects of smoking mamba drug

Anthony Solomon Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Anthony Solomon was seen by his cell mate smoking mamba before his death, the jury heard

A prisoner died after smoking a synthetic drug that was causing daily problems for prison officers, an inquest heard.

Anthony Solomon was found lying unconscious on the floor of his cell at Nottingham Prison on 27 September 2017.

Assistant coroner Tanyka Rawden said he died from the "toxic effect of smoking a synthetic cannabinoid called mamba".

The jury at Nottingham Coroner's Court heard his death came at a time when officers dealt with drugs "most days."

The 38-year-old's death was one of five in a month at the category B prison.

Ms Rawden said Solomon, from Bulwell, Nottingham, was seen by his cell mate smoking mamba before he began vomiting.

Custodial manager Nick Foster told the jury "prisoners have access to drugs - they are available."

He said staff dealt with 200-300 "cell bells" a day, although very few would be emergencies.

The inquest heard psychoactive substances, which include synthetic cannabinoids, emerged as a problem at HMP Nottingham in 2015.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption HMP Nottingham has been criticised in recent years for being "dangerous"

Nick Armstrong, representing Solomon's family, said an inspection report found 57% of Nottingham prisoners said it was easy to obtain drugs and 30% of inmates tested positive when new psychoactive substances were included.

He said on occasions officers had experienced feeling the effects of the drugs being smoked on the wings, which Mr Foster agreed with.

"An urgent response to this problem was due," said Mr Armstrong.

Earlier this year a report by the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) found some improvements had been made at the jail.

It said more staff had been employed, drugs had become more difficult to obtain or smuggle in and violence was reducing.

The inquest continues.

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