Probe after Darwen man dies in prison

AN INVESTIGATION is underway after a 55-year-old prisoner was found collapsed in his cell.

John Nicol, of Ivinson Road, Darwen, had been remanded into custody at HMP Walton, in north Liverpool, after being charged with three assaults, one of which was on his partner Jennifer Young, the day before.

Paramedics were called when he was found unresponsive in his cell.

Prison officers attempted CPR, but the prisoner was pronounced dead 20 minutes later.

The case has been passed to the Independent Prisons and Probation Ombudsman and a post mortem examination was due to be carried out yesterday.

It is understood that Nicol died from a heart attack and that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.

However, the Ministry of Justice has not released any information leading up to him being found unresponsive.

A Prison Service spokesman said: “HMP Liverpool prisoner John Nicol was found unresponsive in his cell by prison staff at 9.30am on January 7, 2014.

"Prison staff attempted CPR and paramedics attended but he was pronounced dead at 9.50am.

"As with all deaths in custody, the Independent Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will conduct an investigation, but the evidence suggest that it was natural causes.”

Nicol had appeared before Blackburn Magistrates the day before he died and had been remanded in custody.

A spokesman for Merseyside Police said: “We can confirm that we were called to the prison following reports of an unexplained death of a 55-year-old man from Darwen.

“Initially we were seeking to identify him and trace his next of kin.

“That has now been done.

“A post mortem examination was due to be carried out yesterday to establish the cause of death.

“Officers are also preparing a full report for the coroner.”

Once the report has been passed to the coroner, the spokesman said Merseyside Police’s involvement with the case would not continue.

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