Durham coroner has concerns after prison staff not told of inmate's threats to kill

The Northern Echo: Mitchell Harrison Mitchell Harrison

A CORONER will raise concerns with the prison service over how information is shared after a prisoner butchered another inmate months after threatening to kill.

Nathan Mann told a nurse he would kill another inmate and wrote graphic descriptions of how he would do it in a diary months before killing child rapist Mitchell Harrison in HMP Frankland, Durham.

Mann and fellow prisoner Michael Parr lured Harrison to Mann’s cell in the vulnerable prisoner wing at around 9am on Saturday, October 1, 2011, and brutally killed the 23-year-old with a homemade scalpel.

After hacking him to death and driving a biro into his eye, the pair disembowelled him, although they changed their minds about eating his liver and instead had a cup of tea.

Speaking at the end of Harrison’s inquest, County Durham coroner Andrew Tweddle said he had major concerns over the way information about Mann was shared with prison officers prior to the attack.

The 25-year-old had told a mental health nurse that he was planning to “kill a nonce”.

He also said he had nothing to lose as he would ineligible for parole for more than 20 years and in a letter to the nurse said he wanted to be moved to solitary confinement and would kill somebody to make it happen.

He said he was anxious about being with other prisoners, adding: “I don’t have the guts to kill myself but I do have the guts to kill someone else.”

Mann’s claims were reported to the prison’s security department but had not been disclosed to the officers on C wing where the prisoners were housed.

One officer told the coroner he wished he had known about Mann’s claims so he could have kept a closer eye on him.

Acting deputy governor at Frankland Robert Young said of the 7,000 security reports made at the prison last year, more than a third related to threats, which he claimed were an everyday occurrence.

He said Mann had previously made similar threats to manipulate staff and force a move to the vulnerable wing.

He also said that had any other prisoner known about their plot, it would have been reported to staff.

The 11-strong inquest jury sitting in Crook, County Durham, concluded that Harrison, who was serving four and a half years after raping a 13-year-old girl in Cumbria, was unlawfully killed.

Mr Tweddle said: “I suggest the prison service carry out a further review to ensure the best information is given to the right individual at the right time.

“It might not have made a difference here but it might on another occasion.”

NATHAN Mann and Michael Parr were psychopaths, but it was impossible to foresee what they were planning to do when they lured Mitchell Harrison to a cell, according to a leading psychiatrist.

Forensic psychiatrist professor Anthony Maden was commissioned by the prison ombudsman to review the way Mann and Parr had been treated prior to the attack.

And although both men had severe personality disorders and expressed violent fantasises, Professor Maden said the attack would not have happened had they not met.

The pair, who were both considered vulnerable prisoners, ended up in cells next door to each other.

He said: "There was a terribly unfortunate meeting between the two.”

Professor Maden said the pair shared their dark feelings, and goaded each other to the point of carrying out their sadistic and violent fantasy.

The Professor said it was extremely rare for such meaningless violence to be carried out in prison.

Harrison is the first person to have been murdered at HMP Frankland since it opened in 1983.

Mann was considered vulnerable due to his being in debt to other prisoners over his drug use, while Parr claimed he wanted to become a woman and formed unhealthy, intense relationships with other prisoners.

The psychiatrist said the prison and health care workers did all they could to help the two men, but that they were practically impossible to treat.

Parr, 34, was in prison indefinitely after attempting to smother another patient in a hospital where he was being treated after trying to kill himself.

Professor Maden said Parr would have killed the man had staff not intervened, and his reason for doing so was because he did not want to be discharged from hospital.

Mann, 25, was also serving a life sentence after killing two women while he was burgling a nursing home.

Both Mann and Parr are now being kept in solitary confinement and neither is ever likely to be released from prison.

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