Nottingham drug-death inmate 'left dying for 40 minutes'

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

An inmate who died after smoking the drug mamba was not tended to until 40 minutes after his cellmate raised the alarm, an inquest heard.

Staff guidelines state Anthony Solomon, who died at HMP Nottingham in September 2017, should have been responded to within five minutes.

His death was one of five in a month at the category B prison, the inquest in the city was told.

At the time though staff faced up to 300 call-outs a day, the coroner heard.

Solomon's cellmate had alerted prison staff when he saw him vomiting.

Then prison governor Tom Wheatley had issued the five-minute limit order to staff two months before Solomon, of Bulwell, Nottingham, died.

The inquest heard the bell had been pressed by cellmate Michael Martin, but it was not answered for 40 minutes.

Martin - who gave evidence via video-link - said staff doing daily cell searches would "just laugh" at people on mamba, and said he banged on his door to try and get help for his cellmate.

"He must have dropped to his knees and he looked like he was going to be sick, so I put the cell bell on to try to get staff," he said.

"I put him in the recovery position on his side.

"He was hard to lift, he is a big lad and I just kept talking to him. He didn't say a word."

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

Assistant coroner Tanyka Rawden agreed the bell should have been "responded to sooner than it was".

However, the hearing was told staff at Nottingham were dealing with 200 to 300 cell bell calls a day even though they were only meant for emergencies.

Prison officer Richard Sugden, who no longer works at Nottingham, was on duty at the time.

During the inquest he said the drugs problem was so bad at Nottingham prison that he himself had been taken to hospital on another occasion after breathing in mamba fumes.

The inquest continues.

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