80 witnesses at inquest into death of Isle of Man prisoner

Isle of Man Courthouse, Douglas

Isle of Man Courthouse, Douglas

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The inquest into the death of a man who died in Jurby prison on March 13, 2012, has reconvened with evidence from almost 80 witnesses to be heard over three and a half weeks.

Michael Joseph Davidson, aged 26, was on remand when he was found dead in his cell by other prisoners.

Two pathologist reports gave the cause of death as drug toxicity, due to methadone with dihydrocodeine and diazepam.

A seven strong jury was chosen from 110 people who were summoned to attend court, and consists of five women and two men.

Coroner of Inquests, John Needham, said: ‘Mr Davidson was in the prime of his life, just 26 at the beginning of March.

‘He was no stranger to the police or prison but that does not mean that his death should be treated any less serious because of that fact.

‘It has been said the test of a civil society is not how we deal with the living, but how we deal with the dead.’

Mr Davidson, it was said, had struggled with drug dependencies since 2006 and was being prescribed diazepam and suboxone at the time of his death.

The court heard how on March 10, 2012, Mr Davidson had been out with his partner and two friends, celebrating his partner’s upcoming birthday.

He had become involved in an altercation and was arrested in the early hours of March 11, in Barrack Street, near the Outback in Douglas.

Upon arrival at Police Headquarters Mr Davidson was ‘unresponsive’ and was subsequently taken to Accident and Emergency at Noble’s Hospital at 1.04am.

At 2.16am he was deemed fit to go back to Police Headquarters and appeared in court on Monday morning, where he was charged with affray and criminal damage.

He was denied bail and held on remand at the prison.

Mr Davidson was found by fellow inmates on Tuesday morning at 9am in his cell on the bed, he was said to be ‘blue with no pulse’.

Resuscitation attempts were made and paramedics were called but he was pronounced dead at 9.26am.

The jury will visit the prison on Thursday and also view CCTV footage and hear evidence from prison officers, prisoners, police and medical experts.

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