Godfrey Moyo – prisoner or patient?

Mental Health - Abuse & Race originally published:
30th July 2009

On 6 July 2009, an inquest jury recorded a highly critical verdict of neglect in the death of Godfrey Moyo in HMP Belmarsh. Twenty-five-year-old Godfrey Moyo, a Zimbabwean, died while on remand at the Category A Belmarsh prison on 3 January 2005 in the early hours of the morning after suffering an epileptic fit.

Godfrey’s family had to endure a four year wait for the inquest to discover what happened on that night. To add to the agony experienced by the family, Godfrey’s mother, Kessie, almost missed the inquest after she was initially refused a visa to come back to the UK. (Read an IRR News story: ‘The ordeal of Kessie Moyo’.).

Godfrey does not seem to have been a difficult prisoner. He was variously described during the inquest by officials as a ‘smashing bloke … [who] always smiled and always said “hello”‘ and a ‘gentle, emotional young man’ by someone who worked in the chapel.

The eleven day inquest took place at Southwark coroner’s court in front of a jury and before the coroner Andrew Walker. The family of Godfrey Moyo was assisted by INQUEST and represented by Daniel Machover (Hickman & Rose) and Leslie Thomas (Garden Court Chambers). The Prison Service also had its own legal representation, as did the Prison Officers’ Association, a nurse and a doctor.

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