Transgender woman found hanged in her cell at Doncaster men's prison died as a result of 'misadventure'

The jury in an inquest of a transgender woman found hanged in her cell at a men's prison in Doncaster have ruled she died as a result of misadventure.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 21st December 2017, 4:04 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd December 2017, 2:30 pm
Jenny Swift, 49, was found hanged in her cell at HMP Doncaster on December 30 last year
Jenny Swift, 49, was found hanged in her cell at HMP Doncaster on December 30 last year

It took jurors just under a day of deliberations to reach the conclusion in the inquest of 49-year-old inmate Jenny Swift.

Swift, a former soldier, was found hanged in her cell at HMP Doncaster in the early hours of December 30 last year.

Swift, of Merseyside, was remanded into custody there on November 17 last year, after being charged with attempted murder in relation to an attack on Doncaster dad, Eric Flanagan at a property in Surrey Street, Balby two days earlier.

Mr Flanagan died from the injuries he suffered on December 16, and the court was told how Swift had been informed of the Crown Prosecution Service's intention to upgrade the charge to murder about a week before she died.

Swift's fellow inmate Paris Clarke told the court that Swift was very remorseful for the attack.

Clarke, who was also a diversity representative for the four transgender prisoners at HMP Doncaster, also told the court how Swift had formed a suicide pact with the other three transgender prisoners a few days before her death.

She explained how the four prisoners had formed the pact over the belief the transgender prisoners were being intimidated and were not being listened to by prison officers.

They later decided to pull out of the pact, originally planned for December 28 - two days before Swift's death, because it 'wouldn't solve anything,' the court heard.

Clarke also claimed that transgender prisoners had been 'bullied' by staff at the prison.

But after barrister Barney Branston, who represents Serco - which runs HMP Doncaster, put it to her that staff were simply being 'robust' she conceded that their conduct was merely 'unprofessional' instead.

Jurors were also told how several prison staff had stated that Swift had requested a transfer to a women's prison and to be given the hormone replacement treatment she had been taking on several occasions.

Evidence from prison GP, Dr Pemberton, revealed how Swift had been informed that due to the fact she had not been prescribed HRT - and was ordering it from the internet - it would not be readily available to her in prison.

He explained it would be a 'long, complex' process for Swift to be prescribed HRT.

Assistant Director for Safer Custody, Rachel Barras, had made a formal recommendation for Swift to be transferred to a woman's prison prior to her death, but she was informed that should it be approved, it could still take up to a year for the transfer to be made.