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EXCLUSIVE: Three prison wardens charged with manslaughter over woman's jail death

November 24, 2018

DEATH: HMP Downview where Leona Burn died 

THREE prison wardens  have been charged with manslaughter in connection with the death of a prisoner at a womens' prison. 

The trio were working at HMP Downview in Banstead, Surrey, when prisoner Leona Burn, 34, was found hanged there.

James Abbot, 43, Laura Bird, 25, and Emma Cass, 24, whose addresses cannot be revealed, appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court to face one count each of gross negligence manslaughter in connection with the death.

Ms Burn was found dead on 2 March last year.

They each also face one charge of failing to discharge their health and safety duties in connection with the death.

CASE: Westminster Magistrates Court 

None have yet entered a plea.

They were bailed to appear at the Old Bailey next month.

A public announcement about her death at the time published in the South Wales Argus said: "Much loved daughter of Gillian and the late Vance, Step daughter of Alan, loved sister of Carla and Katrina, stepsister of Darren, mother of Demi-Leigh, Sherelle and Kenzie.

"Partner of Jason, loving Auntie."

A Prison Service spokesman said: “This is a tragic case and our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Ms Burn. 

"It would be inappropriate to comment further while legal proceedings are ongoing.

“As with all deaths in custody, an independent investigation was carried out by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman and its report will be published in due course.”

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