Jury in the Inquest of Matthew Lambert finds that multiple failures led to his death in HMP Wormwood Scrubs

Matthew Gold & Co Solicitors was instructed to represent Andrea Farnell the former partner of Matthew John Lambert at his inquest following his tragic suicide in the early morning of 13 November 2018 at HMP Wormwood Scrubs. The inquest held at the West London Coroner’s Court considered the weeks leading up to Matthew’s death including a number of suicide attempts.

The verdict of the inquest jury on 19 October 2020 lays bare the multiple failings which led to Mr Lambert’s death, including ‘evidence of policies not being followed, and insufficient recording of critical information regarding his wellbeing and mental state across each of the teams who were responsible for Matthews care’.

The jury also found the failure of various teams to ‘share information and communicate in order to get a true picture of Matthew’s case’ was another shortcoming which directly contributed to the ‘level of care, appropriate risk assessment and monitoring which ultimately led to Mathew taking his own life’.

This jury verdict followed the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman’s report in July 2019 which highlighted many similar failings which formed the basis of the jury’s findings. The PPO’s report stated that limited assessments were conducted, there was a lack of effective communication between different managers and healthcare workers, and inaccurate recording of risk on Matthew’s mental healthcare  records.  The PPO concluded that Matthew received a poor level of care in the prison.

The verdict will give some solace to Matthew’s family during this difficult time as they have strived for almost 2 years to uncover the issues and failings surrounding Matthew’s death.

Matthew’s family was represented by Matthew Gold of Matthew Gold and Co solicitors.

Matthew Gold said that:

 “This jury verdict is a vindication of the fight of Andrea Farnell to obtain answers why Matthew Lambert took his own life. Most notably, it has highlighted the failings of prison staff and healthcare in HMP Wormwood Scrubs in the weeks leading up to Matthew’s death. While the verdict demonstrates that Matthew’s death was avoidable if the proper procedures and systems had been in place and adhered to, it should go some way to ensure that such similar failings are minimised in the future. HMP Wormwood Scrubs has improved its procedures since Matthew’s death. This is the one benefit to come out of the inquest into Matthew’s tragic death”.