Young mum Amy Friar found hanged in Downview prison cell days after her girlfriend Louisa Brannan's murder
A young mother was found hanged in her prison cell days after her girlfriend was murdered, a court heard.
Mother-of-one Amy Friar, 24, was found hanged in HMP Downview, in Sutton, on March 30, 2011, after her girlfriend, mother-of-three Louisa Brannan, was murdered on March 14.
Friar's partner Louisa Brannan
Friar was planning to move in with Miss Brannan, whose family is from Mitcham and had recently been released from prison, Surrey Coroner’s Court, in Woking, heard on Monday. Friar found out about her girlfriend’s murder at the hands of Reece Ludlow when she called Miss Brannan’s father the evening after her death.
Friar was on medication for depression and was put on an ACCT document, following Miss Brannan’s murder, designed to protect vulnerable prisoners at risk of self-harm or suicide.
Prison officer of 18 years, William Brown, was working in C Wing the day Friar died. It is the biggest wing in the prison housing about 170 women including Friar.
As he locked the women's cells over lunch Friar's friend said she was concerned about her and mentioned the anniversary of Miss Brannan's death, even though it happened 16 days previously.
Because of this Mr Brown checked on Friar again and made a note that she had returned from morning work and was not in a good mood.
He asked her if she wanted her observations increased but she told him she was 'fine'.
When Mr Brown returned from having his own lunch he said: "We were sending people to work and I was checking them off when I heard this wailing.
"I thought someone was messing around but it carried on and I thought there was something going on so I ran upstairs and as I came into the landing of 2-South you look directly into Amy Friar’s cell. I then saw [her friend] lying on the floor screaming outside the door.
"I ran into Amy’s cell and she was on the floor with her head off the ground with a ligature around her neck and it was tied to heating pipes." She was described as lifeless.
Mr Brown, whose first aid license had expired and training was overdue, cut her down then started doing chest compressions, while another officer performed mouth-to-mouth.
Prison officer of seven years, Clive McKay, described Friar as a bubbly sort of character who appeared to get along with most of her peers.
He went to see Miss Friar over lunch that day and he told the court she nodded when he asked her if she was OK. Then at about 1.30pm he heard a scream and the alarm across the radio system.
Mr McKay, who was trained in heart start (basic CPR) but whose training was not up to date, helped when the other officers needed relief before the prison’s healthcare (medical) team arrived.
The inquest continues.