A PRISONER who took his own life was identified as being at risk of self-harm on three separate occasions, an inquest has heard.

Craig Royce, 46, from Rochford, was found hanged in his cell at Chelmsford Prison on Christmas Eve last year.

Despite efforts to resuscitate him at the prison and subsequently at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, he died on the morning of Christmas Day.

An jury inquest into his death began yesterday at Chelmsford Coroners Court before Senior Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray.

The court heard Mr Royce, who had a history of psychotic episodes, had been identified by prison staff as at risk of self-harm on three separate occasions prior to his death.

Summarising the evidence to the jury, Mrs Beasley-Murray told the court that Craig Royce had a history of mental health problems.

After a disturbance outside his home on August 15, 2016, he was remanded into custody.

She said: “On August 22, he was referred to psychiatric health for support with substance misuse and on September 6, he was assessed by a prison psychiatrist.

“On various occasions during his remand, he was made subject of ACCTs.”

ACCT is an abbreviation for assessment, care in custody and teamwork and is a system used nationwide to help support prisoners identified as being at risk of self-harm.

Mr Royce was made subject of an ACCT on three separate occasions during his time at Chelmsford prison before he took his own life.

On October 26, Mr Royce was sentenced to 20 months in prison and on November 11 he was issued with a notice informing him that he was unsuitable for early release.

On December 20, four days prior to his death, he was reportedly very distressed during a pastoral meeting with a chaplain and had said he had suicidal thoughts.

The inquest continues.