Press Contacts

Mark Fairhurst - National Chair:
Mobile 07968 108284

Steve Gillan – General Secretary:
Mobile 07971 838590

Glyn Travis - Press Officer:
Mobile 07968 324045

POA Press Office:
020 8803 0255 Option 7

POA Press Releases

164 31 Jan 2018


The POA are delighted that their member has been cleared of Gross Negligence Manslaughter after being prosecuted in connection with the death of a prisoner who hanged himself at HMP Woodhill on 3rd May 2015.

This was the first case of its kind in the UK. A prison officer had never previously been charged with Gross Negligence Manslaughter arising out of the suicide of an inmate in his care.

In the opening of its case the prosecution presented a theoretical “perfect world” basis for how a busy prison should be run. It was to prove a wholly inaccurate analysis in a number of respects. Over two weeks of evidence, a clearer and very different picture emerged of the reality on the ground for prison officers, dealing with challenging individuals, often lacking proper information and resources, having to exercise complex and nuanced professional judgments and make difficult decisions on a daily basis.

This case highlighted the systemic failings in our prisons, including cuts to staff numbers and funding and lack of proper information-flow about vulnerable prisoners.

We are delighted that the Jury, after a short retirement, returned a verdict of Not Guilty.

Our member is very grateful to his legal team who, from the start, identified the flaws in the case against him and robustly challenged the assumptions inherent in the prosecution case. These are charges that should never have been brought.

The POA now demand an urgent review of the procedures and policies which govern the care of prisoners at risk.

The POA member was represented by Mr Simon Csoka QC, Mr Kevin Donnelly and Mr Jared McNally


For further information, contact:

POA Press Office                                                     020 8803 0255 Option 7