A "well-liked" and "fiercely loyal" son and brother found dead in his prison cell deliberately took his own life, an inquest has heard.Christopher Slade was 25 years old when his body was discovered by prison officers in HMP Parc in Bridgend in 2019.A jury at a five-day inquest held at Pontypridd coroners court unanimously concluded Mr Slade died by suicide and that he had intended to take his own life.Mr Slade, one of four children, had also told his mum Tammy that "it was easier to be in prison than to live on the outside".Miss Slade said her son was "well-liked and fiercely loyal". Speaking after the inquest, she added: "His death will have an everlasting impact on those he left behind."Following the five-day inquest, we are left mentally and emotionally exhausted and there are still a number of unanswered questions surrounding Christopher’s death. However, with a conclusion reached, I hope that, alongside my family, I am finally able to grieve the death of my son."Mr Slade had a history of mental ill-health, self-harm and drug-related issues but had reported that he was "coping well" in prison.
But in the summer of 2019, he was found to be under the influence of psychoactive substances (spice) and staff noted cuts to his left arm, which were thought to have been self-inflicted.A care planning process called 'assessment, care in custody and teamwork' (ACCT) was opened for Mr Slade, which is specifically for inmates considered at risk of suicide or self harm, but closed very soon after.
On July 11, 2019, a "code-blue" was raised when prison officers were unable to gain entry to Mr Slade's cell. Despite efforts by prison staff and paramedics, he was pronounced dead at 7.45pm that evening.Miss Slade said she knew her son used cannabis but didn't think he was a "high user" of other types of drugs. It didn't seem to affect his day-to-day function, she added, and that it was only once he went to prison that he started using synthetic cannabis, colloquially known as spice.She'd asked him once: "Why are you always getting in trouble and going back to prison?" to which he replied he found it "easier" to live in prison.Miss Slade was represented by Harding Evans during the inquest, which concluded on Friday, October 22.
Craig Court, partner at the Newport-based law firm said: "This was a complex inquiry that has shone a harsh spotlight on the mental health struggles faced by so many young men.
"Despite his own claims that he was ‘coping well’, reports of self-harm and the use of psychoactive substances are indicative of Christopher’s lengthy internal battle."Mr Court extended his thoughts to Christopher’s family, in particular to his mother, and added: "This has been a hugely emotional ordeal, and the family have shown immense strength and resilience throughout."
For emotional help and support Samaritans can be contacted at any time on 116 123