Prisoner found hanged in cell was ‘hearing voices’

Christopher and Carol Oldham in happier times
Christopher and Carol Oldham in happier times
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A remand prisoner found hanged in his cell at HMP Preston had tried to kill himself on at least four occasions, an inquest was told.

Christopher Oldham, 36, who died despite being on “suicide watch” in jail, had a record of attempting to take his own life.

The self-employed builder, who was depressed at not being able to see his young daughter after the break-up of his marriage, claimed he had been hearing voices “telling him to do things he didn’t want to do.”

But consultant psychiatrist Dr Christopher Ubawuchi revealed he and a colleague could find no real evidence of a psychiatric condition.

Mr Oldham died almost two weeks after being remanded in custody by a court in Blackpool accused of breaching an order not to contact his wife.

Mrs Carol Oldham said her estranged husband had been “an easy-going, fun-loving guy.” But she had never heard him talk of hearing voices and during the time they were together she had no idea he might be suffering from psychiatric problems.

He was found by a friend who told emergency staff he had previously stopped him jumping off a bridge. Research by hospital staff revealed he had made two previous overdose attempts.

Dr Ubawuchi said that Mr Oldham turned up at A&E one day asking to see the mental health team. When one of his colleagues examined him he confessed he had been hearing voices for six years, but had tried to ignore them.

The inquest in Preston is expected to last three weeks.