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Prisoner's death 'not suspicious'

Prisoner's death 'not suspicious'

Friday 20 September 2019

Prisoner's death 'not suspicious'

A convicted paedophile has died while serving a prison sentence in Guernsey.

Sean Edward Dougherty passed away of natural causes on 1 September, having collapsed while collecting his evening meal.

The 51-year-old was initially jailed for four and a half years in June 2014, having admitted 18 sexual offences, which included possession of thousands of indecent images of children and the indecent assault of a teenage boy.

He was released, subject to monitoring conditions, in June 2017, but breached his conditions and was recalled to Les Nicolles Prison in October 2017. According to media reports published at the time of his initial conviction, he had been told his release would be subject to conditions including not owning a computer without permission and not having contact with any children without permission. It is not known what he did to be recalled to prison.

Les Nicolles Prison

Pictured: Les Nicolles prison. 

The inquest into Dougherty's death opened today.

The court heard that at the time of his death, Dougherty was being held on Delta Wing. He had been to collect his evening meal at 16:15 on 1 September, when he was seen to collapse and then lay slumped against a wall. The Prison Officers who were on duty said his breathing was "loud" and "laboured".

They began CPR and an ambulance was called, but the court heard by 17:10 it was discontinued "as it was unsuccessful". Dougherty was pronounced dead at 18:15 and he was identified by a Prison Officer. 

A post-mortem carried out 10 days after his death found that Dougherty had suffered a 1a-Ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm. 

It was stated that "there need not have been any significant preceding symptoms" and that his condition would have caused a "rapid loss of consciousness and death".

The court heard there was "nothing that any of the prison staff or paramedics would have been able to do to alter the outcome."

More details were given to the court, but the inquest was adjourned sine-die so that further tests could be carried out. Dougherty's body was released in the meantime for burial or cremation.

Judge Graeme McKerrell said the court expressed its deepest sympathies to the deceased's family and friends.

Pictured: Les Nicolles Prison. 

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