Murder charge man 'didn't deserve to live' inquest told

A MAN charged with the murder of his girlfriend told prison inmates he "didn't deserve to live" hours before he was found hanged in his cell, an inquest heard.

Shaun Stoker, 49, was found dead with a strip of towel around his neck at Armley Jail weeks after appearing in court accused of the murder of his partner Ann Riel.

The 47-year-old mum-of-two was found strangled at the home she shared with Stoker on Healdfield Road, Castleford, on May 15 2007.

A jury inquest at Leeds Coroner’s Court this week heard Stoker had been classed as a “medium” self-harm risk and was sharing a cell with an African national, George Nuamah, when he died.

Mr Nuamah said he was at his hour-long “recreation” – when prisoners are allowed to shower and make phone calls – when Stoker was found dead.

He told the court Stoker, a former warehouseman, had asked him “do you think God will forgive me?” the day before his death.

Mr Nuamah said: “He said ‘I’ve killed my wife, that’s why I’m here’. He was crying and said he was sorry for what he had done.

“He said he didn’t deserve to live. I told him, ‘you shouldn’t say things like that. You should be strong and ask God for forgiveness’.”

Mr Nuamah told the court that Stoker “seemed more calm” the following morning, leaving their cell for both breakfast and exercise.

Prison “listener” Brian Harrison told the inquest he was worried Stoker had not been eating his meals and told the court that prisoners on F wing were aware of Stoker’s depression.

The inquest heard that Stoker, a divorc, had a history of depression and alcoholism.

Mr Harrison said: “He just seemed to be constantly down. He totally wasn’t happy with the situation that he was in.

“I asked three officers to keep an eye on him and when I came back, there were officers and medical staff outside his door.”

Stoker was found when prison officer Norman Stubbs brought Mr Nuamah back from recreation. Staff and paramedics tried to revive him, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Stephanie White, a prison nurse, said Stoker’s medical notes described him as “disorientated” when he arrived at the jail. The notes also said that Stoker displayed “feelings of guilt” and had told staff that “he wanted to be strangled like he deserved”.

The inquest is expected to last two weeks.