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Coronavirus: Two Pentonville prison workers die after catching Covid-19

PUBLISHED: 17:40 05 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:40 05 April 2020

The former Pentonville Prison. Picture: PA IMAGES

The former Pentonville Prison. Picture: PA IMAGES

PA Wire/PA Images

Two workers at Pentonville prison have died after contracting Covid-19, the Prison Officers’ Association (POA) said.

Patrick Beckford and Bovil Peter were both support staff workers at the Victorian jail in Caledonian Road, and were reportedly in their 60s.

It’s not known if either man had any underlying health conditions.

POA national chairman Mark Fairhurst said: “My thoughts and prayers are with everybody involved with these tragic deaths - two at the same prison is very concerning.”

He added: “I just want to highlight the fact that this (Covid-19) puts us all at risk.

“We are on the front line doing a commendable job on behalf of society and he will be sadly missed by all his colleagues. We wish the best for his family and friends.”

A Prison Service spokesman said: “Two staff members at HMP Pentonville have sadly passed away, and our deepest sympathies are with their loved ones and colleagues at this difficult time.”

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On Tuesday last week the Gazette reported there had been an outbreak of Covid-19 at Pentonville.

It comes after Islington South and Finsbury MP Emily Thornberry told the Gazette: “Let’s make no mistake: given the terrible overcrowding and the woefully poor hygiene standards that already exist at Pentonville, an outbreak of Covid-19 would be an absolute disaster.

“It was only last year that the official inspection reported dirty toilets, mouldy and unclean showers, and infestations of cockroaches and mice, all in cramped living conditions, where the majority of prisoners share cells designed for one. That is a recipe for the spread of disease.”

Mr Fairhurst says some 7,900 prison staff in England and Wales are self-isolating, and a further 15 have tested positive for coronavirus.

He also said that 90 prisoners had been confirmed as having Covid-19, with another 1,200 prisoners self-isolating.

Justice secretary Robert Buckland has also announced he intends to begin the early release of low-risk prisoners as soon as next week.

Mr Buckland has confirmed that up to 4,000 prisoners within the last two months of their automatic early release date would be released from prisons under home detention curfew conditions, which requires them to wear an ankle tag and have stable accommodation in place. It’s not yet known if anyone is being released early from Pentonville.

Did you know Bovil Peter or Patrick Beckford? Contact Lucas at the Gazette newsdesk with tributes on 07786 616244 or Lucas.Cumiskey@archant.co.uk


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