Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Killer found hanged in prison cell
A convicted killer, who claimed he had to live on the streets because the authorities could not find him a home, has been found hanged in prison.
Matthew Stubbs, 36, was pronounced dead after he was discovered at Leeds Prison where he was in custody.
West Yorkshire Coroner David Hinchliff has now launched an investigation into Mr Stubbs’ death, which will involve the police, the Prisons’ Ombudsman, witness statements and reports from his GP.
A close friend of Stubbs, a father-of-one from Bradford, last night claimed he had been “let down by the system.”
Imran Hussain, who had known Stubbs from childhood, said: “Nobody wanted to deal with him. His problems were washed over by the prison service, social services and local authority. He has been totally let down.”
Mr Hussain, also 36, said he had been in contact with Stubbs’ family and his partner. “They told me he was found hanged in the prison. I am absolutely shocked and deeply saddened by his death.
“He called me in May. He had just finished a sentence and was on licence. He had been put in a bail hostel in Leeds. He said he was back on medication and that was going well. He was on Incapacity Benefit and they were getting him somewhere to live. He was waiting to get out of the bail hostel and into a flat.
“He called me and said he was having a birthday party and wanted to go for a drink in Bradford. He said he was back on the run, he hadn’t turned up for an appointment with his probation officer. He was due to go back inside.
“That was the last conversation I had with him. I went on holiday and when I got back I learned of his death. I was surprised. It can be daunting going back to prison at that age when you are trying to rebuild your life.
“Obviously he had his faults, like the rest of us, but he was a loving guy and someone you could rely on. He had a part to play in the problems he had in his life, but over the years he has been a total victim of the system, where he has not got help from the right services at the right time.”
In February 2007, Stubbs, then 29, told the Telegraph & Argus how he felt he would be forced into a fresh crimewave if the authorities did not find him somewhere to live, following his release from a four-year sentence for manslaughter.
He claimed there were no hostel places available for offenders like himself trying to rebuild their lives.
He said then: “I am trying my level best not to commit crimes, but I have run out of money, and the housing trust and probation service are saying there is nothing they can do.”
He said he had recently split up from his girlfriend and the probation service had been unable to find him anywhere to live.
He said: “They want to help people but their hands are tied. The bail hostels are full. When you are on the streets money doesn’t go far. I haven’t a clue what I am going to do.”
A Leeds Coroner’s spokesman confirmed Stubbs’ death had been reported to them on July 30 and an inquest had been opened on August 1. The spokesman said it was being treated as a prison death.
A Prison Service spokesman said: “HMP Leeds prisoner Matthew Stubbs was found unresponsive in his cell on July 26. He was taken to hospital but pronounced dead on July 29.As with all deaths in custody, the Independent Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will conduct an investigation.”
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “We received a report on July 26 of a sudden death at HMP Armley. The matter was passed to the coroner.”