Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Watchdog Verdict on Prison Death

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Watchdog Verdict on Prison Death

Article excerpt

Byline: Will Metcalfe Local government reporter

NOTHING could have been done to prevent 'Black Dog Strangler' Philip Whiteman's death in prison, a watchdog ruled.

Whiteman died from an insulin overdose three weeks after being found unresponsive in his cell at HMP Frankland in November 2014.

A report into his death from the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, Nigel Newcomen, has revealed the 46-year-old gave no clues he planned on taking his life in the runup to his death.

Weeks beforehand Whiteman told a psychiatrist he didn't want to live but would not commit suicide due to his brother's death in 1999 and the impact he thought a second suicide would have on his mother.

Mr Newcomen said: "On 27 October, the psychiatrist assessed the man's mental state.

"Although he said that he did not want to live, he said that he would not kill himself.

"He discussed his future plans, including getting a prison job, moving to the Westgate Unit and getting an independent risk assessment from an external psychologist.

"The psychiatrist did not consider that the man was at raised risk of suicide.

"He said that he had been very surprised when he heard that he had apparently taken an overdose, as he had given no sign of his intentions."

The killer, who also went by the name Phillip Westwater, had spent 25 years behind bars and was serving life after admitting manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

He earned the nickname 'the Black Dog Strangler' after he killed a fellow inmate at Ashworth Hospital in 1990.

The report into the killer's death made no recommendations to the jail as Mr Newcomen concluded Whiteman's death was unpredictable and unpreventable. Whiteman was at Frankland, County Durham's high security jail which has held inmates including Ian Huntley and Michale Adebelajo, from 2014 after being transferred to HMP Durham. …

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