Charged over prison death

Preston Prison

Preston Prison

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TWO prison officers have been charged in connection with the death of a Blackpool man in jail.

Christopher Oldham was found hanged in his cell at Preston Prison on April 21.

The 36-year-old from Egerton Road, North Shore, was on remand awaiting trial on charges of perverting the course of justice.

Mr Oldham’s death was investigated and the Crown Prosecution Service last night confirmed prison officers Shaun Percy and Lisa Percy – who are married – have both been charged.

It is alleged Mr Percy failed to carry out mandatory cell checks on prisoners assessed as being at risk of suicide.

His wife, who was the senior officer on the night of Mr Oldham’s death, is accused of making false entries in prison paperwork.

Both officers live in the South Ribble area.

In a statement Bryan Boulter, from the Crown Prosecution Service’s Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said: “Shaun Percy is charged with misconduct in public office. It is alleged during the night of April 21, 2011 he failed to carry out mandatory cell checks in relation to a number of prisoners who had been assessed as being at risk of suicide, including Christopher Oldham, without reasonable excuse or justification.

“It is further alleged he falsely recorded on the relevant forms he had done these checks.

“I have also authorised Lancashire Police to charge Lisa Percy, Shaun Percy’s wife and senior officer on the night in question, with intent to pervert the course of public justice.

“It is alleged when Christopher Oldham was found hanging in his cell, Lisa Percy made further entries on the relevant records in her husband’s name falsely recording he had made two further checks on Mr Oldham.”

The defendants will appear before Preston Magistrates Court on November 21.

Mr Oldham was charged at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court earlier this year, and remanded in custody following a hearing at Preston Crown Court.

The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman carried out an investigation after Mr Oldham’s body was discovered at around midnight on April 21.

The Ministry of Justice said prison staff attempted resuscitation and paramedics attended, but Mr Oldham was pronounced dead at the scene.