Gloucester Prison staff not warned of ex-landlord's suicide risk
A FORMER Cheltenham pub landlord who hanged himself in Gloucester Prison might still be alive if jail staff had been told he was a high suicide risk, an inquest heard.
Brian Goddard, 57, who had run the Royal Oak pub in Bishop's Cleeve, had been charged with historic sex offences against a boy.
He had been assessed as 'vulnerable' by prison staff and was on suicide watch in his cell at one-hourly intervals,
But the inquest heard there were more intensive levels of surveillance that could have been used if staff had been told his GP and mental health experts had assessed him as high risk.
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The information was not passed on because of patient confidentiality rules.
Mr Goddard hanged himself in the early hours of December, 27, 2009. He had been in the prison on remand for a week before his death.
The inquest heard he was in bed apparently asleep when his cell was checked at 4.40am.
But at 5.20am, prison officer Michael Davis saw him hanging from the window bars and he could not be revived.
The inquest had been told Mr Goddard had been charged in 2009 with sex offences against a boy dating back more than 20 years. He denied the allegations.
In December 2009, Mr Goddard was reported missing from home and there was a police appeal for sightings of him.
He was found safe, but was remanded in custody on December 21.
In a statement to the inquest, his GP, Dr Vivien Smellie of Stoke Road Surgery, said he had a history of mental health problems and had taken overdoses three times.
"That overdose followed allegations of sexual abuse and being ostracised by his family," the doctor said. "He was then assessed as being at high risk of future self harm while the allegations remained."
The GP spoke to the mental health crisis team about him and it was agreed Mr Goddard, who had moved to Tuffley, was a high suicide risk.
Prison officer Steven Dillon said he assessed Mr Goddard when he arrived at the jail on December 21 and he did not appear to be at immediate risk of suicide.
"One reason I felt that was that he told me he wanted his day in court," said the officer.
"I didn't think anyone who wanted to clear his name in court would be a suicide risk."
Senior officer Alan Marshall told coroner Tom Osborne that if he had known of the recent doctor's assessment of Mr Goddard as high risk, it would have affected the decision on how closely to monitor him.
"It is frustrating that we don't get that kind of information because it is classed as 'in confidence'," he said.
Summing up the case to the jury, the coroner said: "You might consider it important that the prison service was unaware he had been considered at high risk of suicide by the GP and mental health crisis team on December 18."