The family of a “guardian angel” who was found dead in his Portland prison cell told an inquest they are “disgusted by the people who had the power to help”.

Bradleigh Trevor Barnes, formerly known as Bradleigh Trevor Maine, and who had previously lived in Parkstone, Poole died at HMP Portland on the evening of December 28, 2019, aged 23.

He had referred himself to the prison’s mental health team on November 21, 2019 and, just weeks before his death, had been triaged as a ‘non-urgent referral’.

Five days prior to his death Mr Barnes had barricaded himself in his cell and was removed. It is then that an Assessment, Care and Custody Teamwork (ACCT) was opened in respect of suicide and self-harm.

Mr Barnes, whose cause of death was ruled as ligature suspension, had previously been the subject of an ACCT on April 18, 2016.

Governor Ian Beckett, head of offender management at HMP Portland since September 2021, confirmed there were no "safer-cell certified" cells at HMP Portland - a 'safer-cell' is a cell designed to make self-harm and suicide by use of a ligature as difficult as possible.

Mr Barnes was also subject to an ACCT in May 2018 after stating he felt suicidal and again on June 12, 2018 after cutting his face with a razor and threatening to kill himself.

Mr Beckett said an ACCT was typically opened in a time of crisis to trigger an 'immediate action plan' but, at the time of Mr Barnes' death, there was "no requirement" to inform his family that one had been opened.

Within a 24 hour period of an ACCT being opened a prisoner undergoes an assessment interview and case review - on neither of these occasions for Mr Barnes' latest ACCT was a healthcare representative present.

Mr Beckett admitted "healthcare should have been involved".

When pressed if it was a requirement to have a healthcare representative during the case review, Mr Beckett said twice "it would have been expected".

The inquest heard that Mr Barnes had been self-isolating because of a large 'debt' owed to other prisoners and, in November 2019, had requested to isolate as a result of this.

Mr Barnes' family said he was “unprotected, frightened and scared of being killed”.

A statement from Mr Barnes’ family was read in which they described how they had “begged for help” prior to his death.

The statement, written by Mr Barnes’ grandmother, said: “We are disgusted by the people who had the power to help. We were begging for help; we all were but they couldn’t even be bothered to put his right name to paper.”

Mr Barnes was described by his family as a “very happy, loyal, reliable person” but also "vulnerable" and "an easy target".

They said he was “devoted to us as family, reliable and always true. Always putting people first, keeping them happy.”

“He was our guardian angel – always there when we needed him”.

On July 7, 2017 he was sentenced to 3 years and 10 months in prison and released from that sentence on June 6, 2019. He was recalled on June 21, 2019 and initially placed at HMP Exeter before being transferred to HMP Portland on July 12, 2019.

The jury inquest continues and is expected to last two weeks.

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