Family hope inquest will end prison murders


originally published by: The Independent
17th January 2010

Just one day after Michael Clegg was discharged from a psychiatric hospital, he found himself in Leeds prison. Mr Clegg, 48, a mechanical engineer with no previous criminal record, was remanded in custody for an alleged assault on his wife because no place was available in a suitable probation hostel.

The vulnerable father-of-three was shocked but thought he would have to wait only a few days to be reunited with his family. Less than two weeks later, he was dead.

Just after 5am on 9 May 2006, his family answered the door to the Leeds prison governor flanked by police officers who told them Mr Clegg had been found hanging in his cell. Initially they were told it looked like suicide, despite the fact that Mr Clegg’s buttocks were marked with stab wounds and his cellmate’s semen. But within days a murder investigation had been launched.

Neil Preece-Smith pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting suicide in February 2007. In passing a 10-year sentence, the judge described him as an “extremely dangerous man” who bullied and humiliated his vulnerable cellmate into committing suicide. The Clegg family has never accepted the suicide verdict.

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