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G4S denies ‘covering up’ Parc Prison ‘s 25th death in 18 months

28 Jun 2024 4 minute read
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Martin Shipton

The private company that runs Parc Prison has denied covering up the 25th death related to the jail in Bridgend since the beginning of 2023.

G4S was responding to an allegation made by Zack Griffiths, who runs a Facebook platform called HMP Prisons Justice Group.

Mr Griffiths issued a statement that said: “On June 5 we reported that something was happening in HMP Parc. We received some information from a source. However, the details we felt were somewhat vague and uncertain.

“Following receiving some new information, with sadness I can confirm that there was a ‘secret death’ that was never made public.

“Mr Henry Royan died at HMP Parc on June 5, bringing the total deaths to 25 [since January 2023].

“We were aware on the day of some issue at the prison. I am shocked that HMP Parc never released this information.”

New director

Mr Griffiths went on to point out that the death occurred during the first week that new Parc director Will Styles was in charge. Mr Styles, who formerly ran G4S’s HMP Five Wells in Northamptonshire, took over from previous director Heather Whitehead, who ran the prison for only 10 months.

Ms Whitehead’s departure with immediate effect was “not in response to one single incident”, G4S said at the time.

Ten inmates had died at the prison since February 27 2023 and three prisoners were also taken to hospital following disorder at the prison days before Ms Whitehead was replaced.

A spokesperson for HMP Parc emphatically denied that there had been a cover-up in relation to Mr Royan’s death.

A HMP Parc spokesperson said: “Mr Robert Royan (date of birth 17.01.1953) passed away on Wednesday 05 June 2024. His next of kin have been informed and our thoughts are with his family and friends.

“As with all deaths in custody, this will be investigated by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman and the cause of death is for the coroner to determine.”

Hospital inpatient

Mr Royan, who was known as both Henry and Robert, had been a hospital inpatient since April 29. It is not thought that his death was drugs-related, and is likely to have had natural causes. When he was jailed at Swansea Crown Court in 2018 for setting fire to an electricity meter cupboard at the flats he lived in at Pembroke Dock, he was said by the sentencing judge to have had a lifelong obsession with causing fires.

At least four of the deaths since February 2023 are believed to be drug-related, while one prison staff member has been arrested in connection with drug dealing there.

South Wales Police said in March that a Nitazene – a synthetic opioid drug – had been identified in connection with all four deaths.

The force said spice, another synthetic drug, had been identified in two of the four deaths.

G4S has previously said it has a “zero-tolerance policy towards drugs”.

Culture

Two former inmates at Parc have spoken recently to NationCymru about a culture in which prison officers bring drugs into the jail in return for payment.

Mr Griffiths, himself a former Parc inmate, told us: “Our Facebook group gets a lot of information from former and current prisoners. I’m aware of one officer at Parc who has been bringing in drugs for prisoners since at least 2014. So far as I’m aware he’s still doing it now.

“Recently a Parc prison officer contacted the group to tell us he was aware of a colleague who was bringing in drugs but didn’t want to identify them because they had a family to support and he didn’t want them to lose their job.

“This has been going on a long time, and it’s a common problem in many prisons, but the spotlight is on Parc because of the number of deaths.”

G4S has acknowledged there is a problem with drugs getting into the prison, and has previously stated: “Allegations of any wrongdoing by a member of staff are thoroughly investigated and reported to the police where appropriate.”


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
16 days ago

The Texans would take their stetsons off to HMP Parc…

Good lord, the Tory private army, G4S Division…

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