Suffolk prison rocked by triple tragedy

THREE Suffolk prison workers have died in a tragic sequence of events, it emerged last night.

Craig Robinson

THREE Suffolk prison workers have died in a tragic sequence of events, it emerged last night.

Richard Self was found hanging from a pylon near Saxmundham just two days after a colleague, 32-year-old Jacqueline Donnelly, died in a rock climbing tragedy - and just months after his partner took her own life.

Mr Self is believed to have been on the same excursion as fellow Warren Hill prison worker Jacqueline Donnelly when she suffered a fall in the Peak District on Saturday.

The 32-year-old, of Sutton, near Woodbridge, landed on her head after falling about five metres (15ft) while leading the climb near Robin Hood's Cave on Stanage Edge in Derbyshire.

She is believed to have been with a group of prison workers from Warren Hill - which included Mr Self.

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Suffolk police confirmed yesterday that the body of the 53-year-old was found in a field near Saxmundham on Monday.

The tragedy comes just four months after Mr Self's partner - also a worker at Warren Hill prison - decided to take her own life.

Caroline Burnham, 48, was found hanging at an address in Kesgrave, near Ipswich, by Mr Self on May 5 this year.

At an inquest into her death held in August the coroner said she took her own life while the balance of her mind was disturbed.

Yesterday, a spokeswoman for Suffolk police confirmed that Mr Self, of Tennyson Road, Saxmundham, had been found dead.

She said they were contacted just after 10.20am on Monday with concerns for a man indicating that he wanted to take his own life.

“Officers attended an address in Saxmundham and started initial inquiries to try to trace him,” she said. “This included searches and talking to local people to see if he could be found.”

Less than an hour later another call was received from a member of the public who reported that a body had been found hanging from a pylon on land in Saxmundham Road, Friston.

The spokeswoman added that an inquest into his death was opened on Tuesday and adjourned until a later date - although they were not treating it as suspicious.

When fellow workers at Warren Hill heard of Mr Self's disappearance it is believed that they went out to help look for him.

Last night neighbours paid tribute to the 53-year-old. One resident, who did not want to be named, said: “I went to the shops on Monday morning and when I came back there were three police cars in the road.

“I wondered what they were doing because it's very unusual. I didn't know him that well, but if I saw him I would say good morning 'Dick' and he would wave back and smile. We would exchange Christmas cards. It's very sad.”

The inquest into Ms Donnelly's death was opened and adjourned at Chesterfield Coroner's Office on Wednesday pending further inquiries.

She worked on The Prince's Trust xl programme at Warren Hill, an alternative curriculum for educational underachievers.

Graham Ball, The Prince's Trust East of England regional director, said: “We are extremely sad to hear the news of Jackie Donnelly's death. She was a fantastic Prince's Trust xl advisor who worked hard to help many young people to turn their lives around.”