Paedophile who was ‘hearing voices’ died in HMP Northumberland cell
A prisoner at HMP Northumberland took his own life after being tormented by voices in his head.
Convicted paedophile Paul Cavner was found hanged with a blanket in his cell on November 1, 2020. Attempts to administer CPR were unsuccessful and he was declared dead by paramedics.
A report by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) found monitoring meant to prevent suicide was ended “prematurely”, six days before he died. Bosses at the privately-run prison have been ordered to make sure suicide and self-harm monitoring is carried out properly in future.
The 56-year-old prisoner was among four child abusers sentenced in September 2019 for crimes against a vulnerable young girl who was “prostituted out” from the age of nine.
Her childhood was stolen by a campaign of horrific abuse which lasted until she was 14, after someone offered her to a series of men in return for money, alcohol and cigarettes.
Cavner’s sexual abuse was more isolated than those of his co-accused, but he was behind one vile incident which prompted the girl to finally seek refuge. Cavner was found guilty of one count of rape and one of indecent assault and was jailed for nine years.
Following the sentence, he was sent to HMP Northumberland in October 2019, where he was placed in a block for older prisoners. According to the PPO report, in October 2020, Cavner took an overdose of a number of medications, saying it was because “people were shouting at him at night and watching him through the air vents”.
He was taken to hospital and discharged the next day, and the prison began its suicide and self-harm prevention procedures (known as ACCT). At subsequent ACCT meetings, Cavner told staff he heard “unpleasant and abusive” voices which sometimes told him to take medication, although by the third meeting he claimed he was “coming to terms” with them.
Ten days after it began, the monitoring was stopped. And six days after that, Cavner was found hanging in his cell.
The PPO report said the monitoring was “not managed well”, and included a “significant failing”, that no mental health nurse attended the last review of Cavner’s condition and mental health nurses weren’t involved in the decision to end it.
Ombudsman Sue McAllister said: “I am concerned that staff stopped ACCT monitoring prematurely. Not only had a mental health assessment not been carried out when the decision to stop monitoring was made, but no-one from the mental health team had input to the decision.
“There was also a lack of continuity in staff attendance at the ACCT case reviews and ACCT documentation was inaccurate as it showed that staff had made contributions when they had not done so.”
She was also concerned that at the start of the monitoring process a mental health nurse had arranged a urine test to check whether the confusion was caused by a urinary tract infection (UTI), with next steps to be decided once results came back. However, even though the negative test results were uploaded to the electronic medical record, the mental health team were not notified.
“It is likely that Mr Cavner would have had a mental health assessment had the mental health team been aware of the urine test result,” she added.
HMP Northumberland bosses were ordered to “ensure that staff manage prisoners at risk of suicide and self-harm in line with national policy”; review the process for requesting physical health investigations to make sure all relevant staff are included in the reporting process; and ensure the report’s findings were discussed with the two staff members who had carried out the suicide monitoring.
A spokesperson for HMP Northumberland said: “Our thoughts are very much with the family of Mr Cavner, who sadly passed away in November 2020. We cooperated fully with the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman’s investigation, accepted the recommendations made, and are implementing an action plan based on these recommendations.”
Over half a century behind bars for the men who sexually abused a young girl
A victim who was subjected to six years of sexual abuse by a gang of four men has today thanked police – as her abusers were today jailed for a total of 53 years.
The vulnerable woman had been abused by the men when she was a child after a man offered her to them in return for cigarettes and alcohol.
She was abused on a number of occasions over a period of six years but it wasn’t until she was an adult that she bravely contacted police.
The abusers were charged with a host of sexual offences and in May they were found guilty of a total of 37 counts of sexual assaults, including multiple rapes.
Lead investigator Detective Jaclyn Younger was in court on behalf of the victim today (Monday) to hear Judge…. put the four men behind bars for 53 years.
Colin Ankers, 45, of Waterville Road, North Shields was found guilty of 14 counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault and was sentenced to 21 years
Philip Taylor, 60, of Whiteley Avenue, Sowerby, West Yorkshire was found guilty of three counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault and was sentenced to 17 years.
Darren Smith, 36, of Irene Avenue, Stoke-on-Trent was found guilty of five counts of rape and five counts of indecent assault and was sentenced to six years.
Paul Cavner, 55, of Crofton Street, Blyth was found guilty of one count of rape and one count of indecent assault. He was found not guilty of one other count of indecent assault. He was sentenced to nine years.
In a statement read out in court, the victim said she “didn’t know any different” during the abuse but she has called on other victims to report abuse to police.
She said: “The trial has been very difficult for me but it’s the closure that I need to be able to move on with my life. I have had to do this for me and I am proud of myself.
“My childhood was taken at the age of nine when Colin Ankers began to groom me and stole my childhood. Out of all of the men who abused me, Colin Ankers was the worst.
“He had a hold over me, very controlling and has destroyed me the most. The abuse has affected my adult relationships with men. I have never been happy and settled, I have been used as a sex toy, a punch bag, a victim of abuse.
“I didn’t know any different, I didn’t know what was and what wasn’t acceptable. I had no confidence, no self-esteem and beatings were normal. I have done this for me and only me so I can move on.”
Four men found guilty of ‘heinous and wicked’ sexual abuse of young girl
A woman who was sexually abused as a child after someone she knew offered her to other men in return for money and cigarettes has finally seen justice.
The victim had her childhood blighted by being brutally raped and sexually assaulted over six years.
Now she has finally seen justice after four men have been found guilty of multiple historic rapes and indecent assaults.
On Friday a jury at Newcastle Crown Court found the men guilty of a total of 37 counts which occurred over a period of six years.
The abuse committed by:
Colin Ankers, 45, of Waterville Road, North Shields ;
Philip Taylor, 60, of Whiteley Avenue, Sowerby, West Yorkshire;
Darren Smith, 36, of Irene Avenue, Stoke-on-Trent;
Paul Cavner, 55, of Crofton Street, Blyth
The four men had denied the charges against them but was described as ‘heinous and wicked’ by the judge.
Northumbria Police say a man who was known to the victim at the time would offer her to the other men for sexual purposes in return for money, cigarettes and alcohol.
Ankers was found guilty of 14 counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault.
Taylor was found guilty of three counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault.
Smith was found guilty of five counts of rape and five counts of indecent assault.
Cavner was found guilty of one count of rape and one count of indecent assault.