A RETIRED builder from East Dorset died in hospital just weeks after he was jailed for a string of sexual offences against children.

John Ferris was admitted to Royal Hampshire County Hospital from Winchester Prison on March 15 with pain in his knee, an inquest heard.

After treatment and tests his condition deteriorated and he died on March 22.

Mr Ferris, 75, who lived in Ameysford Road, Ferndown, prior to being sent to prison, was given an 11-year custodial sentence and two years on extended licence at Bournemouth Crown Court on March 1.

He committed sexual offences against girls under the age of 14 at locations in Dorset and Surrey between the 1970s and the 1990s.

An inquest at Winchester Coroner’s Court on Monday into Mr Ferris’ death, heard he first complained of pain in his left knee in the early hours of March 14.

Over the next 40 hours he was seen by three nurses and a doctor at the prison.

The inquest was told that on the afternoon of March 15 nurse Penelope Ndlova had requested for him to be transferred to the health care wing to receive further treatment.

However, he was taken to hospital later the same day.

Tests found Mr Ferris had a suspected group C streptococcus infection.

His condition deteriorated, despite a knee washout and “aggressive treatment”, and he died after eight days in hospital.

Pathologist Dr Hayley Burnley gave a cause of death of multiple organ failure due to septicaemia and the infection.

Recording a conclusion of natural causes, Senior Coroner Grahame Short said: “Mr Ferris developed a group C streptococcus infection while in Winchester prison.

“He was transferred to hospital on March 15 where he died.”