Killer found hanged in cell ‘had been given psychiatric referral’

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NOTORIOUS killer Damian Rzeszowski took his own life in a UK prison two weeks after medical staff referred him to Broadmoor psychiatric hospital following concerns over his mental health, an inquest heard.

The then 37-year-old was found hanged in his cell in the maximum-security Full Sutton prison in East Yorkshire on 31 March 2018 – seven years after stabbing to death his wife, Izabela, their two-year-old son, Kacper, and their five-year-old daughter, Kinga; his 54-year-old father-in-law, Marek Gartska; and family friend Marta de la Haye (34) and her five-year-old daughter, Julia.

He was serving a 30-year jail term for manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Hull Coroner’s Court this week heard that, during sentencing in the Royal Court in 2012, the judge remarked that, unlike in England and Wales, he did not have the power to send a prisoner to a secure mental hospital, such as Broadmoor, but expressed hope that Rzeszowski could be facilitated there once he was in the UK prison system.

Former prison psychiatric nurse Kevin Brennan, who worked at Full Sutton until last year, said an assessment was carried out by a consultant psychiatrist after Rzeszowski was moved there from London’s Belmarsh Prison in 2013 but the decision was made not to refer him to a secure hospital. Rzeszowski was placed on a programme involving regular supervision by a psychiatrist due to a ‘severe and enduring diagnosis of psychosis and depression’, Mr Brennan told the inquest.

He said the prisoner’s treatment was scaled down in 2015 after he showed improvements but, in January 2018, he self-harmed and tried to overdose, resulting in him being placed in segregation under a closer supervision regime.

Mr Brennan said a psychiatrist decided Rzeszowski was showing signs of psychotic illness and a referral was made to Broadmoor special hospital two weeks before his death.

Mr Brennan said normal referrals usually took two to three weeks to action.

PC Kalina Tyszeca, a British police officer who had liaised with Rzeszowski’s parents in Poland, told the inquest that the killer’s father had expressed concerns about his son’s treatment. She said he told her ‘his son should have been in a mental hospital, not a segregation unit, due to his mental health’.

PC Tyszeca said the family were so worried about him they had been trying to contact the Polish embassy for help.

‘He believed his son was mistreated in prison,’ she said.

The inquest continues.

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