Family call for mercy for Northampton prisoner who can ‘barely move’ but is handcuffed to guard in hospital bed

Demar Smikle

Demar Smikle

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A family are asking for a relaxation of custody rules after a prisoner from Northampton who has severe meningitis was handcuffed to a guard in his hospital bed.

Demar Smikle, 20 from Southfields was temporarily put in a medical coma after contracting TB and meningitis while in prison.

He was taken to a Birmingham Hospital but, despite being unable to speak or walk properly, he is under guard round-the-clock and handcuffed to a guard.

Family members of Mr Smikle, who was convicted of blackmail in 2013, have said the measures are inappropriate for a seriously ill man.

Sister in law Jodie Baxter said: “He is just recently out of intensive care and can’t do anything for himself.

“He’s really, really weak and the handcuffs keep pulling his arm off the bed and its extremely painful for him. He could be like this for months.

“We’re not condoning criminality and we’re not saying he should be released. We just think these measures are unnecessary.”

The prison service said an assessment of Mr Smikle’s potential risk showed the handcuffs were justified.

Prison Service spokesperson said: “Public protection is our top priority and prison governors have a duty to mitigate the potential risks prisoners pose to the public, medical staff and other hospital users.

“All prisoners are risk assessed before being escorted to hospital to ensure security measures are proportionate and that they are being treated with dignity and respect.”

The link to a petition for a change in his treatment is here.

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