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Man found hanged at Stafford Prison was a "nice guy", inquest told

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: February 25, 2014

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THE FORMER cellmate of a Stafford Prison inmate found hanged a week after arrival has said he was shocked to see him back at the jail.

Stephen Denson, a serving inmate, shared a cell with Kieron Dowdall, in the days before he died in Stafford Prison in January 2012.

Mr Denson had met Mr Dowdall in previous years and described him as “a nice guy” to the inquest at Stafford Crown Court today.

Mr Dowdall, originally from Lancashire, had been moved to a Category D, or “open” prison, North Sea Camp, in Lincolnshire, in 2010.

But he was transferred back to a closed prison, HMP Lincoln, in January 2012 after absconding from North Sea Camp – with the intention of taking his own life - shortly before an authorised visit to his family, the inquest heard.

Mr Dowdall had thought he was due to return to North Sea Camp from Lincoln, his mother Doreen Williams told the court yesterday, and did not know why he had been taken to Stafford on January 20.

The inquest was told today that Mr Denson had heard Mr Dowdall say that if he was not told why he had been taken to Stafford ‘he would kill himself’.

Mr Denson said: “To see him back at Stafford was a shock.”

Mr Denson was transferred to another wing of the prison on January 26 2012 – the day before Mr Dowdall was found hanged in his cell, aged just 24.

He had been ordered to serve at least three and a half years’ custody when he was given an indeterminate prison sentence in November 2006, when he was 19.

The inquest continues.

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