Family’s dismay at bland’ verdict on prisoner’s death

PUBLISHED: 14:15 04 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:43 16 August 2010



THE BROTHER of a prisoner who died after his pneumonia went undetected has hit out at the bland narrative returned at his inquest.

THE BROTHER of a prisoner who died after his pneumonia went undetected has hit out at the "bland" narrative returned at his inquest.

Rory Kinloch, 38, from Beckenham, died in Brixton prison on June 15, 2006, after being remanded for failing to answer a warrant.

Jurors at the five-day inquest returned the narrative verdict after the Times went to press last Tuesday. They had heard that doctors and nurses, who administered methadone, did not give him a physical examination. They also said they were unaware he had asthma or recently contracted pneumonia.

A pathologist told the Southwark Coroner's Court that Mr Kinloch's pneumonia was so bad he had abscesses on his lungs.

Speaking this week, his brother Angus, 49, said "After all that evidence - I am just so numb with disappointment.

"It is half a side of A4 paper, handwritten in capitals, littered with spelling mistakes.

"We are very upset with it. We heard the evidence in court ourselves.

"We had an expert saying his life could have been saved the night before he died.

"There were so many appalling mistakes. We have waited three-and-a-half years for this and it just doesn't go far enough."

During the inquest the nurse who gave the prisoner methadone told the jury her "check-ups" at the prison usually relied on questions like "How do you feel?"

Nurse Norma Ngema told the court that at the time of Mr Kinloch's death, nurses at Brixton prison did not have patient medical records in the treatment room.

Therefore, she did not know he had asthma or that he had a recent bout of pneumonia when she watched him drink a large dose of methadone. She did not check his blood pressure.

When asked how she would check for chest infection, she said: "By asking questions such as 'How are you today?', 'Are there any problems?'"

The coroner asked if she knew Mr Kinloch had pneumonia previously or if he still had it and she said: "No. He didn't mention it to me."

Before he was arrested by Bromley police the former heroin user was on Subutex to help keep off heroin but, once he was remanded at Brixton prison, he was prescribed methadone.

GP Dr Desmond Coffey, who prescribed the new medication, only found out that the patient had pneumonia and asthma after his death.

He said: "I was shocked. I was surprised.

Coroner Andrew Walker recorded a narrative verdict.

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