Yorkshire father dies days after leaving prison and pledging to quit drugs

A devoted father who made a pledge to quit drugs after leaving prison was found dead in a hostel just days later, an inquest was told.

Jamie Bennett was last seen when his family dropped him off at Norfolk Park Village hostel in Sheffield. They said he was "happy, excited and full of life" upon his release from HMP Moorlands on May 1, 2020.

But he was found dead in his hostel room on May 5.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Prior to his release from prison, Mr Bennett had pledged to quit drugs, refused a ‘naloxone’ overdose reversal kit and had been engaging well with activities which were designed to help him give up his habit.

The inquest is being held at Sheffield Coroners' Court

A four-day inquest into his death began on April 25. A statement read out on behalf of his family said they couldn't grieve until they found out how he died.

The statement by his sister read: “He was so happy when he walked out of prison. He was so excited to see his son. He had hopes and dreams to find somewhere for him and his son to live together.

"He loved his son and he loved being a father. When I see his son they are an absolute double. He reminds me of him every time I see him. During his last eight weeks in prison, we weren’t allowed to see him because of Covid, which was very hard.

"Jamie had the best sense of humour which often had us laughing for hours on end.”

Read More

Read More
Hillsborough Barracks: Historic former barracks in Yorkshire could be turned int...

The 33-year-old had been imprisoned for 32 weeks in September 2019 after pleading guilty to theft, breach of a suspended sentence and willfully obstructing a police officer.

At the hearing on Monday, two members of prison staff spoke well of Jamie and his efforts inside prison.

Head of healthcare services at HMP Moorlands Nicola Wraith described him as “cheeky” and “full of life,” saying: “In December, his main focus was abstaining from taking any substances so he could go back to his family.”

Michael Wilkinson from the prison’s substance misuse team said: “He had more life about him.

"He only engaged with the substance misuse workbooks if he was forced to, because he would say ‘I’m alright I don’t need it’. He kept saying he wouldn’t take substances anymore.”

When he was released from prison on May 1, Mr Bennett refused a ‘naloxone’ kit, which is a drug used to reverse the effects of an overdose on opioids in an emergency.

On his release, he was picked up by his sister and son, went to his dad’s house for a shower, and was in time for his appointment to check in at a hostel at Norfolk Park Village, where his family last saw him while dropping him off.

It is believed he died sometime on May 2, and was found dead on May 5.

In the statement read out in court, his family said: “We just want to know what happened to our brother, son and dad. We cannot grieve properly until we know why and how he died. Jamie was a devoted and thoughtful soul and he will be dearly missed.”

The inquest is set to conclude on April 28.