The nursing profession's leading regulatory organisation is probing allegations that drugs were incorrectly administered to an 18-year-old Keighley man, who later hanged himself.

Mark Hutton was found hanging from a cell window in Doncaster Prison the day after he arrived there on remand for allegedly raiding a Bingley card shop at knifepoint.

Mark was battling to come off drugs and suspected he might be HIV positive.

The UKCC - United Kingdom Central Council for nursing, midwifery and health visiting - is now investigating the claim by his mother Christine that a nurse administered tranquilisers three hours too early.

Nursing assistant Mrs Hutton has complained to the UKCC that the nurse gave Mark his drugs - sleeping pills and a detoxification drug - at 6pm instead of 9pm.

Doctors said Mark should have been given his medication at 8am, 3pm and 9pm.

"The drugs were supposed to help him through the night. By giving them early, they wore off and he woke up in a distressed state," she said. "I know how important it is to give drugs at the right time. No nurse should give a tablet three hours early. It is very dangerous.''

Mark was one of five young men to have committed suicide at Doncaster Prison over the last 12 months.

A spokesman for UKCC said a preliminary hearing was due to be held in private when the evidence would be looked at and a decision made whether there was a case to answer.

If there was, the professional conduct committee would meet in public, possibly in Leeds, when the case would be heard. If it was found proved, the nurse could be struck off the register.

A prison spokesman said: "We must await the outcome of the investigation. If something arises from that, we will take whatever action is necessary."

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.