A transgender prison was found hanged in her prison cell days after pulling out of a suicide pact with other inmates, an inquest has been told.
Jenny Swift, 49, died at Doncaster Prison – a jail for men – in December last year, a jury at Doncaster Coroner’s Court was told today.
Another prisoner, Paris Clarke, told the jury how four transgender prisoners at the jail had entered into a pact to kill themselves.
But, she said, she and Jenny and had decided to come out of it after a few days.
‘Some of us were being bullied by members of staff. And no-one was listening. A couple of us made a pact of suicide,’ she said.
She agreed with Barney Branston, representing Serco – the firm which operates the prison – that the pair pulled out of the pact together because it ‘was not a brilliant idea, it solves nothing, does nothing’.
‘I had a chat with her and she pulled out with me,’ she told the court.
Paris said her friend Jenny seemed happy on the evening before she was found dead and showed no inkling she was going to take her own life.
Paris, who acted as a diversity rep in the privately run prison, said her friend liked to play loud music and was dancing on the evening before she was found dead.
She said she had no idea she would want to kill herself.
‘No clue at all,’ she said. ‘We were very close. I never got any inkling or anything that she was going to take her own life.’
Ms Clarke was asked about her friend’s mood after she was told she would be facing a murder charge instead of attempted murder after a man died.
‘She was really remorseful,’ she said.
Paris said her friend said: ‘What have I done, I can’t believe I’ve done this.’
But the prisoner, who gave evidence flanked by guards, said Jenny was angry with herself but did not seem to think that ‘life was not worth living’.
She agreed that her friend was planning life after her sentence and wanted a husband.
Paris, who is now at New Hall women’s prison, said Jenny, who was originally called Jonathan, was ‘a funny person – very energetic, always smiling and joking’.
‘She helped me be who I wanted to be,’ she told the court.
Ms Clarke said her friend talked about wanting a move to a female prison and seemed pleased when she told her that her hormone replacement treatment was beginning again on January 3.
She said she saw her friend just before lock-up on the night she died.
Paris said: ‘She mentioned her kid. She mentioned about living life to the full. She gave everyone a cuddle that night, like she did most nights. She was just happy and said she’d see us all in the morning.’
The inquest, which began on Monday, was adjourned until Tuesday. It is expected to finish later this week.
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