A PRISONER who hanged himself in his cell had strangled himself twice before but was not deemed to have a mental illness, an inquest heard.

Mohamed Emamy-Foroushani was found dead at HMP Winchester on September 2 2015, a jury inquest in Winchester heard this week.

Mr Foroushani, from Redlynch, had been in custody since January 2014. He was due to attend Salisbury Crown Court five days after his death, facing charges including producing cannabis, religiously aggravated harassment, criminal damage and possessing a firearm with intent and without a licence.

The coroner’s court heard from 20 witnesses including prison staff, forensic pathologists and inmates.

Dr Adrian Feeney, a consultant psychiatrist at the prison, said Mr Foroushani had been assessed on many occasions but he was repeatedly found not to have a mental illness.

He said Mr Foroushani had previously admitted to self-strangulation on two occasions. After the second attempt, in March 2015, Mr Foroushani was again assessed but said he had been trying to cut off oxygen to his brain to relieve toothache, and that he was not suicidal.

Dr Feeney said he was put on constant watch as he “did not seem to understand the consequences of his actions”. He added: “He did not appear fazed when the officer put it to him that he might have died.”

He was taken off constant watch less than a week later and on March 25 a member of staff noted that he was “feeling much better”. But days later he complained of a “low mood” and given antidepressants.

He had assessments in July and August and staff again deemed him mentally sound, but recorded that he was “very anxious” about his trial.

The day before his death, Anton Barnwell, Mr Foroushani’s drug and rehabilitation manager, visited him.

Mr Barnwell said there had been “no indication that he had thought about self harm and suicide”.

Statements from other inmates said Mr Foroushani had made a number of “highly charged, emotional phone calls” in the days leading up to his death, which would sometimes leave him in tears. The court heard transcripts of two conversations with Mr Foroushani’s brother on August 29 and September 1, in which Mr Foroushani had asked his mother to pray for him, adding “I’m suffering a lot, I don’t know how long I will be here”.

On September 2, Prison Officer Betenson found Mr Foroushani unresponsive in his cell during a scheduled check of the wing at about 4.30pm and raised a Code Blue (used when a prisoner has collapsed or stopped breathing).

Other prison officers arrived and cut Mr Foroushani down from the ceiling. Resuscitation attempts failed and Mr Foroushani was pronounced dead at 5.08pm. The jury returned a majority verdict of suicide.