A PRISON inmate suffering from cancer died after a series of failures and neglect, an inquest has ruled.

James Yarnell was wrongly given deadly doses of two chemotherapy drugs as treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The 32-year-old armed robber, from Washington, Wearside, was diagnosed with the cancer while serving a life sentence in Frankland Prison, Durham. The inquest heard he was given a week’s worth of one highly toxic medication, instead of enough for only one day, and an eight-day course of another, instead of one lasting three days.

Days after he took the tablets, he was moved from his cell to Sunderland Royal Hospital, where he died of multiple organ failure.

An 11-man inquest jury ruled his death was a result of an accident to which neglect contributed.

During the three-week inquest in Sunderland, the jury heard how Yarnell was serving a life sentence after he was involved in an armed robbery at a motorway service station in Washington.

On March 13, 2007, he was due to receive his final set of tablets, which were prescribed by consultant haematologist Dr Lucy Pemberton.

The court heard that staff at the hospital’s outpatient pharmacy misread Dr Pemberton’s handwriting and gave him eight days’ worth of the drug etoposide, instead of just three.

They also misunderstood her intention to give him only one day’s worth of lomustine and dispensed a full week’s course by mistake.

Hospital trust spokeswoman Carol Harries said: “The trust would like to apologise to the family for the failures in the care provided to Mr Yarnell. The trust will carefully consider all of the evidence heard at the inquest and will now complete its own internal review.”