Holloway Prison Sentence may have led to girl's suicide

Aylesbury Plus, 22nd January 1986

(A relatively short account of the Inquest. Other accounts were published in other local papers at the time.)

The effect of being sent to Holloway Prison because there was nowhere else for her to go, could have contributed towards the suicide of a 21-year-old girl, her father told an inquest in Aylesbury on Friday.

Lucy Ann Reynolds, of Buckingham Road, Tring, was found to be dead on arrival at Stoke Mandeville Hospital after falling from the third floor of the multi-storey car park at Aylesbury Civic Centre on November 20.

Dr Julian Candy of Stone Hospital said he first saw Lucy in 1984 when she was admitted to Stoke Mandeville Hospital after drinking bleach.

He though she suffered from a personality disorder but was not mentally ill. [In fact four different psychiatrists came up with three different diagnoses.]

"She felt life was not moving forward very satisfactorily and she was not matching up the expectations of herself and her family," he said.

She was admitted as an in-patient to Stone Hospital and during that time she took an overdose of Paracetemol.

"Thoughts of suicide and self harm were never far from her mind," he said.

In October of 1984 she was sent to Holloway Prison after being charged with criminal damage and assault after attacking a taxi driver by putting a belt round his neck and asking for money.

"She was extremely difficult and disruptive in Holloway and I did not feel it was appropriate for her to be placed there," he said.

She had gone home [from Hill End Hospital, St Albans] on November 11 and on November 19 it was agreed she could continue at home after she had phoned the hospital sounding very well and confident and asked to stay on.

Lucy's father, Dr Christopher Reynolds, who is a doctor of chemistry, said that in Holloway his daughter behaved like a three year old who would not go to bed. Her personality problems were aggravated and sometimes it needed four or five people to get her back into the cell.

He though that the violence she developed would not have occurred if she had not gone to Holloway.

"The way she was treated in Holloway aggravated her problems but there was no other place for her," he said.

Recording a verdict of suicide the coroner, Mr. Rodney Corner, said nobody would ever know what triggered off the suicide.

"She was sent to Holloway because no one could find an alternative place for her and that must be a deficiency we have in the system in this country," he said.