Boss at troubled prison steps down after death of ten prisoners

The director of a troubled prison where ten inmates have died in the last three months has stepped down. Heather Whitehead is leaving her post at the privately-run HMP Parc in Bridgend with immediate effect, having taken on the role in August 2023.

She leaves by "mutual agreement" and her departure is "not in response to any one single incident", security firm G4S, which runs the prison, said. Will Styles, who has been with G4S for a year running HMP Five Wells in Northamptonshire, has been appointed as the new director.

Crisis-hit Parc has also faced allegations from former staff members and prisoners of rampant drug-dealing, violence, corruption, chronic understaffing and a lack of mental health support. Of the ten sudden deaths since February 27, at least four of them are thought to be drug-related. Join our WhatsApp news community here for the latest breaking news

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On Friday (May 31) three inmates were taken to hospital following disorder at the prison. A South Wales Police spokesman said the force is investigating "three assaults involving serving prisoners" that happened on Friday, adding: "None of the injuries sustained are life-threatening. No arrests have been made at this time with the investigation ongoing and in its early stages.”

Meanwhile one Parc prison officer admitted smuggling drugs into the prison with the intention of dealing the substances. Grieving families marched outside the prison on Monday, May 27, in a demonstration calling for G4S to be stripped of its £400million contract.

Last Wednesday we revealed Parc's death toll had reached 10 in just over three months. A 38-year-old prisoner, Warren Manners, died suddenly that day in circumstances that police do not believe to be suspicious. For the latest Bridgend news, sign up to our newsletter here

A spokesperson for HMP & YOI Parc said: “Will Styles has been appointed as the new Director of HMP & YOI Parc. Will has over 30 years’ experience in the prison service having led a number of large, complex prisons, both public and private and served four years as a Prison Group Director for the Long Term and High Security Estate.”