Prison death inquest at final stage

Van: A forensic team searching Michael’s caravan after he was charged with murder at Mount Roland in February, 2015.
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An inquest into the deaths of three prison inmates has heard final submissions in the Magistrates Court in Hobart.

Search: Mount Roland

Theinquest into the deaths of Troy Colin Monson, 42, Robin Michael, 63, and Scott Clifford Mitchell, 23, began after their deaths occurred within two monthsof each other in 2015.

South Australian man, Robin Michael was found dead in his cell at Risdon Prison in June 2015.

He had been remanded in custody after being charged with the murder of his wife Kerry Michael atMount Roland in February 2015.

Last year the inquest before Coroner Simon Cooper heard evidence from Michael’s family that he had suffered mentally as a result of his incarceration but had not indicated intent to self harm.

The inquest also heard that inmates at the prison had reported being asked by Michael about different methods of suicide.

Police found Wynyard man, Troy Monson, completed suicide while he was being transported from Hobart to Launceston in a prison vanon June 22, 2015.

He had been remanded in custody for burglary and had told police hewanted to get off drugs and repair his relationships.

The inquest heard Monson had been on his way to receive a psychological assessment when he was found deceased in the van shared with a number of other prisoners.

On Thursday, Counsel assisting the Coroner Robert Webster saidthe officer driving the van at the time had not been able to see Monson where he was seated in the van.

He said the officer had believed Monson was asleep.

Mr Webster said it was possible a previous psychological assessment for Monsonhad been completed incorrectly and he may not have been fit to travel.

He emphasised a need for statewide access to medical records.

Scott Clifford Mitchell was found deceased in the Ron Barwick Minimum Security Prison at the Risdon Prison complex on July 31.

Former prisoner Isaac Rafter told Mr Cooper last year that after another prisoner raised the alarm, he ran into Mitchell’s cell and saw him ‘‘looking blue and on his back’’.

Mr Rafter said it took nurses 10-15 minutes to attend the scene but State Counsel Paul Turner said CCTV footage showed there had been a three minute response time.

At the time of Mitchell’s death Director of Prisons Brian Edwards saidit was likely Mitchellhad died as a result of a medical condition.

The inquest has addressed the psychological assessment and categorisation of prison inmates as well as processes around the issuing of drug prescriptions.

Mr Cooper is yet to confirm a date to hand down the findings of the inquest.

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