HEARTBROKEN family members of a man found hanged in jail have criticised prison authorities.
Richard Walsh was awaiting trial for the attempted murder of two boys in Havant when he was remanded into custody in the high security unit of HMP Belmarsh.
Guards were ordered to check on the 43-year-old Havant man every three hours but he was left from 7pm until nearly 11am the next morning when he was discovered dead.
The Ministry of Justice – which previously wrongly said Walsh was not being treated differently to any other prisoner – admitted to The News a guard at the London jail was suspended pending an investigation.
A spokesman said Walsh was not on suicide watch.
Father-of-six Walsh was accused of stabbing two boys, 12 and 13, on June 26 in Havant.
Both boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, suffered serious stab wounds.
Walsh’s 45-year-old brother, who did not want to be named, told the Observer’s sister paper The News: “This is a man who feels very guilty and not in his right mind and should have been watched.
“Not only watched, but kept away from things that were accessible that he used to do this.”
He added: “What happened was just absolute neglect. It seems disgusting.”
His mother Lilly Walsh, 64, of Leigh Park, added: “When the police came round and told me he was in prison I said “at least I know he’s safe.”
“I would have loved to see him have his day in court – I want the truth to come out. He’s never going to have that chance now.”
Lilly made repeated attempts to contact Walsh in prison but was unsuccessful.
She added: “That poor boy went to his death thinking nobody gave a damn.”
Letters she sent were not found in his cell when he was found last month.
The News understands CCTV footage inside the prison shows no guard checked on Walsh for 15 hours.
It comes after HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick said the south east London jail’s high security unit needed a fundamental review.
Walsh’s brother Mitchell Walsh, 22, added: “We just wanted to speak to him and say “Richard we are always going to be here for you.”
“Now we don’t have that chance.”
Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: “People remanded in custody for serious offences are known to be particularly at risk of suicide and self-harm.”
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage, a junior minister at the Ministry of Justice, added: ‘I know that the dedicated custody staff work hard every single day to provide support to vulnerable and often aggressive offenders.
“However every self-inflicted death is a tragedy and we must work hard to learn from any incident and share good practice.”
The Probation and Prison Ombudsman is carrying out an investigation into Walsh’s death.
A Prison Service spokesman said: “A member of staff at HMP Belmarsh has been suspended.
“An investigation is under way so it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
Previously the service said jail staff found Walsh dead in his cell and attempted CPR.
He was pronounced dead at 11.06am on July 19.
Accused had drink problem and ‘difficult childhood’
RICHARD Walsh suffered from an alcohol problem and his family say he was always ‘different’.
The 43-year-old lived in Australia for two years when he was younger and on a boat in the Mediterranean and in Malta for a short time.
He attended Front Lawn School as a youngster, attended a special needs school in Waterlooville and Staunton Community Sports College.
His mother Lilly Walsh said: ‘He had a difficult childhood, his dad didn’t help him.’