A diabetic prisoner who died after being restrained and left on a cell floor in isolation for 21 hours was subjected to “truly shocking” treatment, a report has found.
Annabella Landsberg, 45, was restrained by prison staff at HMP Peterborough on September 2, 2017 but wasn’t examined by healthcare staff for 21 hours.
When she was finally examined the following day, the mum-of-three was found to be “extremely ill”.
The 45-year-old, who lived in Worthing, West Sussex, was suffering from multiple organ failure when she was taken to hospital and died on September 6.
A report from the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman said that staff at the privately-run prison thought Annabella was “play-acting” and spent “far too long” before carrying out proper examinations.
“The events leading up to Ms Landsberg’s death are truly shocking,” it said.
“Both discipline and nursing staff assumed initially that Ms Landsberg was play-acting and it took them far too long to seek managerial intervention and to carry out appropriate clinical examinations.”
An inquest on Thursday also found there were “failings” by the Sodexo-operated prison in Cambridgeshire, as well as by custody officers, healthcare staff and doctors.
The inquest heard that duty nurse Lesley Watts said Ms Landsberg was “wasting staff’s time” and was “clearly faking medical issues”.
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After the hearing, Annabella’s sister Sandra Landsberg said: “It was very distressing to learn that my sister was left on her cell floor for so long when she was so unwell, repeatedly considered to be ‘faking it’.
“My sister will not come back, but no other family should have to go through this. Prisoners should be properly supported and looked after.”
Deborah Coles, director of the charity Inquest, which represented the Landsbergs, said she “suffered dehumanising, ill treatment”.
“Annabella was a black woman with multiple vulnerabilities,” she said. “That she came to die a preventable death in such appalling circumstances is shameful.
“Distress of black women in prison is too often disbelieved and viewed as a discipline and control problem.”
Damian Evans, director at HMP Peterborough, said: “It is clear that the care Annabella Landsberg received whilst she was at HMP Peterborough fell short of the standard we expect and we are very sorry for this.
“Our thoughts continue to be with Annabella’s family and friends.”
He said a thorough review of healthcare services at HMP Peterborough had been carried out and the prison accepted all the recommendations from the initial Prison and Probation Ombudsman’s report, leading to “many changes and improvements being made”.
He added: “We will consider the jury’s extensive findings and conclusions with great care and continue to make improvements.”