A SUICIDAL robber died after prison staff took nine minutes to call an ambulance when he was found hanging in his cell, a report has revealed.

Sheldon Woodford, convicted of robbing a 90-year-old woman in a Boscombe street in 2015, was being held in HMP Winchester following his conviction at Bournemouth Crown Court.

A report from the Prisons Ombudsman has criticised the way he was looked after in prison and found staff had reduced checks on him despite previous suicide attempts.

Delays in getting help for Mr Woodford, 24, "could have been critical", the Ombudsman said.

He died in hospital three days after being found hanging in his cell on March 9 2015.

Mr Woodford had first been sent to HMP Winchester in January the same year while on remand for robbery. At court he said he would kill himself in prison.

A suicide and self-harm warning form was completed at court but was not considered by reception staff at the prison.

When he cut his arm in prison 10 days later, Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork (ACCT) monitoring was put in place but it was ended in mid-February despite him being sentenced to four-and-a-half years in custody.

He was found hanging in his cell on February 24 and he was rescued and taken to hospital.

When he returned to prison on March 1 staff checked him twice and hour but it was reduced to once an hour before the fatal episode.

The Ombudsman's report concluded: "We have serious concerns about the assessment of risk and the operation of ACCT suicide and self-harm procedures at Winchester, which were not in line with national policy.

"The emergency response was poor. It took too long for healthcare staff to respond and there was a delay in calling an ambulance.

"It also took too long to inform Mr Woodford's family that he had been taken to hospital in a critical condition."

The charity, Inquest, said a further 10 self-inflicted deaths at HMP Winchester since March 2015 showed that "lessons have not been learned".

The Prison Service said it had accepted the ombudsman's recommendations.

In a statement it said procedures to support prisoners on arrival were currently being reviewed and anti-ligature windows would be rolled out at HMP Winchester from January.