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Suicide risk of prisoner 'ignored by Walton jail'.

THE family of a prisoner who killed himself at Walton jail have accused prison authorities of knowing he was suicidal and doing nothing about it.

An inquest heard prison officers moved Arthur Starns's cellmate out and left him on his own just three days before he hanged himself with a bedsheet.

Dad-of-two Starns, 53, died on February 1 last year while awaiting sentencing for a breach of his anti-social behaviour order and attacking a police officer with an axe.

Liverpool coroners court heard he took to drink after his wife left him and after a vicious attack in 2001, which left him with 200 metal pins in his head, he became an alcoholic and would shout at strangers in the street.

In 2004, he tried to hang himself but a rotten beam snapped and saved him. Two weeks later, he threw himself under a lorry in Rice Lane, Walton, but again survived.

His sister Linda Starns gave evidence to the inquest yesterday.

She said: "Arthur had been told by his solicitor that he would be looking at an indeterminate jail sentence.

"Arthur told me 'I'm too old for this. I can't hack it. By the time I come out, my mum is going to be dead. I'll be an old broken man'."

Ms Starns said she received a phone call from her brother on November 15 or 16.

She said: "He sounded distraught and told me where his things were."

Worried he would try to kill himself again, she phoned the prison and was told Starns was "OK".

Despite the call being logged, he was not put on suicide watch and killed himself 10 weeks later.

The inquest heard he was popular with guards and inmates, and after his death prisoners on B-wing had a collection for his family, decribed by a prison officer as "extremely rare".

(Proceeding)

CAPTION(S):

TRAGIC: A forensic officer examines the scene of a vicious attack on Arthur Starns (above)
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 30, 2011
Words:325
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