The family of a man found hanging in his cell have questioned why he was not sectioned

PUBLISHED: 07:01 07 July 2017 | UPDATED: 09:14 07 July 2017

An inquest into the death of Andrew Rawlings, who was found hanging in a prison cell, is expected to last six days.

An inquest into the death of Andrew Rawlings, who was found hanging in a prison cell, is expected to last six days.

Archant

The family of a ‘vulnerable’ Clevedon man who was found hanging in his cell are questioning why he was sent to prison instead of being sectioned and given help for his mental health problems.

Mr Rawlings, aged 26, was found hanging by his t-shirt in Horfield prison on July 16 last year, less than 48 hours after being detained.

An inquest into his death began at Avon Coroner’s Court in Flax Bourton yesterday (Thursday) and is expected to last six days.

The court heard how Mr Rawlings had a history of depression, self harm and had attempted suicide on a number of occasions.

In a statement read out in court, his sister Gemma Rawlings said his behaviour had become increasingly erratic in the weeks before his death due to the death of a close friend and the breakup of a relationship.

The court heard how Mr Rawlings had begun drinking and taking drugs to cope with his depression and was arrested for a number of assaults.

Gemma Rawlings said his behaviour was ‘totally out of character’ and said the family had tried to get him treatment for his mental health issues on a number of occasions but were told ‘nothing could be done’ while he was drinking and taking drugs.

In her statement she said: “He was arrested again for walking to Aldi naked following a breakdown.

“We felt reassured he would get the help he needed. During two previous arrests he had to have all clothing removed due to multiple suicide attempts.

“We would like to know why, in the face of the disturbing behaviour he was exhibiting, he was remanded in prison instead of being sectioned.”

The inquest continues.


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