Jamie Lee Bennett’s death in bail hostel may have been prevented

A Coroner has found multiple failings in the support provided to Jamie Lee Bennett, a 34 year old father who died a day after his release from HMP Moorland. Jamie had refrained from any drug use for about eight months prior to his release.

The Coroner found that there was a failure to formally consider re-toxification during Jamie’s release planning and also a failure to follow the local operating policy for distribution of Naloxone. Further, there was a failure to provide Norfolk Park Bail Hostel with information about Jamie’s previous substance misuse and detoxification history, and that he had declined Naloxone on his release from prison.

These failures, together with changes to practices that included the absence of room searches, drug testing, and an allocated substance misuse team, meant that the bail hostel did not have the opportunity to provide Jamie with appropriate support.

The Coroner concluded that had such additional support been put in place in the days immediately following his release, the risk that Jamie would use substances and die as a result may have been reduced.

Also highlighted were failures in relation to the conduct of welfare and curfew checks resulting from lack of training and understanding by staff. Moreover, there was a delay in calling the emergency services on account of lack of first aid training and the abence of staff use of radios.

Jamie had last been seen on CCTV at 1.01am but was not discovered, in an unresponsive state, until over twelve hours later. It wasn’t possible to determine the actual time of his death.

Jamie’s sister, Laura Bennett said: “Jamie was a devoted and thoughtful soul who will be dearly missed. He was a loving son, father, brother, nephew, cousin and friend.

“While this Inquest has given us some answers to the questions we have had for so long, it is extremely upsetting to hear that more could, and should, have been done to help him with his recovery, especially at a time of transition when he really needed that support.

“I hope that no one has to go through what my family has been through, and I hope that all of the findings that have come to light mean action is taken so that no one has to suffer as we have in the future.”

Jamie’s family were represented by Cian Murphy, instructed by Aimee Brackfield of Simpson Millar, and supported by Selen Cavcav of INQUEST.