Altcourse inmate's heartbreaking 'if I die tonight' message to mum

Ryan Baker, pictured with partner Steph Lester - his mum Valerie has claimed her son is being neglected inside HMP Altcourse
-Credit: (Image: Ryan Baker)

An epileptic HMP Altcourse inmate who has "developed sepsis" in his wrist injuries has told his mum and partner "if I die tonight, I love you".

Ryan Baker, who has a number of conditions including epilepsy, psychosis and schizophrenia, has been on remand at the Fazakerley prison for three weeks after being charged with section 18 assault. His mum Valerie Baker, from Stockport, has claimed her son has been "severely neglected" by prison authorities as his open wounds have gone untreated and he has been "left for up to 20 minutes" without attention after having a seizure.

Miss Baker, 54, told the ECHO the prison has a "duty of care" for her son but he is not getting the medical support he needs. She added she has repeatedly tried to contact the prison, creating a paper trail with its governor and senior members of staff, but at the time of writing had yet to be contacted regarding her repeated concerns.

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A spokesperson for Sodexo, who took over management of the prison in 2023, told the ECHO: "We are unable to comment on individuals, however we are more than happy to speak with Mr Baker's family privately to answer any concerns." The prison also claimed Mr Baker is receiving appropriate care.

Miss Baker said her son had been "on the block" - in the prison's isolation unit - because he has refused to be moved into the general population due to gang-related concerns. Since her son has been in prison, she has claimed he has had at least 30 different seizures, but has not had regular access to his medication.

Miss Baker told the ECHO: "He can have multiple seizures during the night. When he comes around from them he is soaking wet, like he's been thrown in a swimming pool. He also has major head and spine ache and blurry vision that is coming and going throughout the day."

During one of his seizures, Mr Baker is said to have injured his hand, which his mum has since claimed has been confirmed as broken. The ECHO has seen evidence of a number of emails sent by Miss Baker to prison authorities where she has raised concerns about the regularity of her son's medication.

On June 19, she said her son was not getting his medication when he first woke up like he was supposed to. Three days later, she wrote to officials to say he had not had either his epilepsy or schizophrenia medication - and on June 28 she said he had not had his epilepsy dosage again.

Miss Baker told the ECHO her son also has injuries on his wrists from when he slashed them when in court. When she visited him in prison his wrists were "bandaged with cling film and were oozing green and yellow puss". Miss Baker said: "His arms were seeping. I told them he needed to go to the hospital, but they just gave him two paracetamol.

"What's that going to do? The nurse's response was to just 'keep cleaning it' but it is badly infected. His arm was swollen and on fire and still no duty of care was being given. I said he is going to get sepsis. His arms are a mess.

"No one is caring for my son. It's disgusting. I feel like my son is being neglected. It's heartbreaking. When I finish speaking with him on the phone he'll say 'if I die tonight, I love you'".

Ryan Baker, pictured with mum Valerie Baker
Ryan Baker, pictured with mum Valerie Baker -Credit:Valerie Baker

Mr Baker, a dad-of-three, is due to have his first child with partner Steph Lester in three months. Both his partner and mum told the ECHO they have seen a significant decline in his condition over the three weeks he has been on remand. Miss Baker added: "I feel like this is more than banging my head against a brick wall.

"No one is taking any accountability for my son's treatment. He's going to court on July 8 - we feel like we're holding out hope just to get to that date. I get to see him once a week and he is getting worse every time. He's losing weight, when I last spoke to him he had gone 72 hours without a shower. The prison has a duty of care not only for my son but every prisoner in there, but he isn't getting that."

The most recent inspection by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons was in November 2021 when the category B prison was under the management of G4S. The inspectors assessed "safety outcomes as not sufficiently good" and there were issues with safeguarding. However, the report detailed "Altcourse is already one of the better local prisons in the country in terms of outcomes for prisoners" and was capable of "tackling the deficits" for further improvement.

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