Immigration centre criticised in inquest verdict

03 Jul 2014 | Posted by Carl Thomas

An immigration centre has been criticised at the inquest of a US man who died while being detained.

Brian Dalrymple died while at the second of two detention centres he had been placed in after being denied leave to enter the UK when he arrived at Heathrow Airport in June 2011.

Mr Dalrymple was stopped at the airport carrying a box containing $2,000, a coat and a cut throat razor. He suffered from both schizophrenia and high blood pressure.

He was detained because he claimed asylum before the authorities could send him back to America.

An inquest into his death held at West London Coroner’s Court found his death was due to natural causes compounded by neglect, The Guardian reported.

The court found: "The UK Border Agency contacted the Home Office at Harmondsworth [detention centre] to request a psychiatric assessment and repeated the request on a number of occasions. No action was taken. The US Embassy were not notified of Mr Dalrymple's detention.

"Throughout Mr Dalrymple's detention at Harmondsworth, medical record-keeping was shambolic."

When he was transferred to Colnbrook detention centre, his medical records were not sent with him. Staff there realised he was mentally ill but his high blood press caused his death before the centre could arrange a psychiatrist to see him.

Lawyer, Jocelyn Cockburn, who represented Mr Dalrymple’s mother at the inquest, said the Government could not ignore the “perilous state” of the UK’s immigration custody.

She added: "There is a worrying trend emerging in these types of cases, particularly with the increased privatisation of what have always traditionally been public functions, that the general care and healthcare treatment of detainees becomes fragmented and certain essential actions are overlooked, often leading to devastating consequences and it has to stop now before more lives are lost."