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Inquiry after prisoner found hanging in cell

HYNDBURN'S MP has called for a top-level inquiry into conditions at Preston Prison following the death of a Clayton-le-Moors man.

HYNDBURN'S MP has called for a top-level inquiry into conditions at Preston Prison following the death of a Clayton-le-Moors man.

Mr Greg Pope is demanding action from the authorities after 32-year-old Andrew McKenzie McKee was found hanging in his cell.

The gruesome discovery was made by his younger brother James, who shared the cell with him. Attempts by prison staff and paramedics to resuscitate him proved unsuccessful.

A Prison Service spokesman said: "Both the Coroner and the police have been informed and in addition an inquiry will be conducted by a senior governor from another prison.''

Mr Pope said: "The first thing I should do is to express my deepest condolences to the family of one of my constituents who has died in such an appalling and tragic way. Secondly, I am given to understand that there have been eight suicides at this prison since 1995, which is an incredibly high number. This figure raises concerns about the general question of prison overcrowding.''

He added that Ribble Valley MP Mr Nigel Evans also had concerns about Mr McKee's death and the pair planned to table Parliamentary questions to both the Prison Service and the Home Office about conditions at Preston Prison.

He said: "We have to wonder whether this Victorian building and others like it are really suitable to deal with the large number of prisoners they have to take. I should think that most of the people from Hyndburn who are given custodial sentences go to Preston Prison but just because they have been sent to prison it does not mean that they should be placed in a position where they lose their dignity as well."

Mr McKee, of Lower Barnes Street, Clayton, was jailed for 16 months when he appeared before Burnley Crown Court in December after admitting breaking into the home of an elderly widower and on another occasion forcing his way into the house of someone who was away at a funeral.

Recorder Simon Newell said the offences crossed the custody threshold and he had to go to prison. Mr McKee's barrister, Mr Richard Hunt, said the dead man had a history of psychiatric problems.

Besides his brother, Mr McKee leaves his parents Andy and Audrey McKee, sisters Valerie, Sandra, Deborah and Sharon and children Matilda, Tom, Aleric and Brittany. He was the former partner of Emma.


Stuart Pike
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