Crockett Suicide

A Torquay man who found himself back in a prison cell on rape charges after being let off a previous life sentence, hung himself two days after being detained at Exeter Prison.

Terence Crockett was accused of four rapes, possessing a hatchet and two knives in a public place, and assaulting a woman and was due to stand trial at Exeter Crown Court.

An inquest at Exeter’s County Hall heard how the 53-year-old was found hanging from his cell window by a bed sheet by his cellmate at about 11.55pm on July 16, 2017. Despite treatment he died at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital the following day on July 17.

A jury heard how it was not the first time Mr Crockett, who was born in Islington, had spent time prison.

He had previously served part of a life sentence for armed robbery but was released on ‘life licence’ several years earlier.

He was then arrested on July 13, 2017 for rape offences, and due to his previous life sentence was remanded by HMP Exeter where he was to remain until his trial.

The first person to give evidence at the inquest, which is expected to last five days, was assistant governor Joe Belso who explained what life is like inside the prison.

He recalled how when Mr Crockett first arrived at Exeter Prison, he disclosed he would kill himself in custody.

Mr Belso said: “A comment was made about killing himself but it was subsequently put down by himself as a flippant remark.”

An application was made by Mr Crockett to be given vulnerable prison status to be segregated from main prison and put into B wing with fellow vulnerable prisoners.

This was granted but as B wing was at full capacity he was moved onto C wing, but on a landing with other vulnerable prisoners and shared a cell with a fellow vulnerable inmate.

Mr Belso explained how vulnerable prisoner are defined as those who may be vulnerable to attack from other prisoners due to the nature of their offense, as well as being a risk to themselves.

He added that when B wing was full, C wing was used for lock up periods and then prisoners would be moved daily to B wing.

The inquest continues.

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