Ipswich: Jail staff gave extra razor blades to unstable inmate
A mentally unstable murder suspect who committed suicide in prison by repeatedly cutting himself was given razor blades by jail staff just hours earlier.
Mariusz Lipinski bled to death through multiple self-inflicted razor wounds in his cell on July 28, 2009 after being remanded in custody accused of stabbing his estranged wife, Malgorzata Lipinska.
However, an investigation into his death by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has revealed staff on his wing at Norwich prison were unaware the 38-year-old had mental health problems – despite a psychiatrist contacting the jail with concerns over his state of mind and reception staff judging him to be at risk of self-harm.
A report by the prison ombudsman, obtained by The Evening Star, described the incident as “worrying”.
Lipinski was arrested in Ipswich on July 24 on suspicion of murdering Mrs Lipinska.
The Polish national was deemed to be suffering alcohol withdrawal and was referred to a psychiatrist.
Although the psychiatrist did not assess Lipinski, he contacted the mental health team at Norwich prison to express concerns about the prisoner.
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Attempts were made to alert prison staff on the wing Lipinski later stayed in but these were unsuccessful.
When Lipinski arrived at the jail reception, he was judged to be at risk of self-harm but this was not communicated to wing staff.
Although Lipinski arrived at Norwich prison at around 3.15pm, the volume of prisoners being admitted meant he was not assessed by a nurse until after 6pm.
Mental health services at the prison are only available from 9am until 5pm and therefore he could not be seen by a psychiatrist that evening.
When Lipinski requested extra razors in addition to the ones supplied in his prison induction pack they were provided by staff on his wing.
He was later found slumped in his cell bleeding to death by officer Paul Bottomley at 1.15am the following morning.
In her report the ombudsman deemed “the lack of communication” between prison staff as “worrying”.
She advised the head of healthcare at HMP Norwich to ensure vulnerable prisoners – like Lipinski – were referred for mental health assessment.
In addition, she said the governor and head of healthcare should examine the means of communication between the mental health team and healthcare staff at the jail’s reception.
The ombudsman has also advised the governor to ensure requests for extra razors are considered and documented.
HMP Norwich has accepted the recommendations and now only one razor is provided to prisoners.
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