A TEENAGE asylum seeker committed suicide in prison after being accused of murdering his girlfriend, an inquest jury concluded.

Dawit Kahsay, an Eritrean national living in Middlesbrough, denied to a prison officer and a visiting friend that he committed murder. He may also have been worried about a 'blood debt' - where his African family would have to pay his alleged victim's family about £3,000.

Teesside coroner, Malcolm Donnelly, told the inquest that it was "disappointing" that no prison officer had checked on Mr Kahsay from 8.40pm until he was found at about 6.20am on the morning of May 11 in Holme House Prison, near Stockton, last year.

A previous inquest into Mr Kahsay's alleged victim, Natset Tekle Nasihi, also an Eritrean, recorded a verdict of unlawful killing after hearing she was stabbed in the head and neck 13 times in her home in Parliament Street, Middlesbrough.

That inquest heard that Ms Nasihi, 22, was believed to have been married and did not want her mother to find out about her illicit relationship with Mr Kahsay. Police have never looked for anyone else but Mr Kahsay in connection with the murder.

Today's (Monday, April 27) inquest in Teesside Magistrates Court heard that Mr Kahsay, 19, was found hanging in his single cell by a prison officer.

Evidence was heard from several prison officers, nurses and other prisoners that Mr Kahsay had not appeared suicidal or likely to cause himself harm.

However, Aman Mussa, another Eritrean and friend of Mr Kahsay who visited the prison on May 9, said his friend was considering suicide. He claimed he told a member of prison staff in the prison, but the jury heard that claim has not been verified.

The jury concluded Mr Kahsay had committed suicide.